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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 10 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 32
Pulitzer-winning play has a timeless message
Arts & Entertainment
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Pulitzer-winning play has a timeless message

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

ANNA IN THE TROPICS
BURIEN LITTLE THEATRE
Through August 26


Anna in the Tropics, a play by Nilo Cruz, details the lives of cigar factory workers in Tampa's Ybor City in the late 19th century.

The play's historical context is important to understand. When Cuban immigrants came to Florida in droves in the 1800s, they brought with them the well-known Cuban tradition of cigar making. The factory workers had another tradition, however: while they rolled, a 'lector' would read to them, hour after hour. The action of this play is set in motion when a new lector is hired.

The workers become divided in their loyalties as the factory's owners adopt new, mechanized manufacturing methods. As the lector reads from Anna Karenina, a famous novel by Leo Tolstoy, the workers are affected greatly. Cruz masterfully ties in themes from the novel to the personal journeys of his characters

Anna in the Tropics won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003, making Cruz the first Latino American to win the coveted award.

The production is a joint venture of the Burien Little Theatre and Latino Theatre Projects (LTP), a Seattle-based nonprofit whose mission is to inform, enlighten, and engage audiences through the dramatic presentation of thought-provoking literature, a genre LTP calls 'useful theatre,' or Teatro Útil. LTP also engages the Latino community in a variety of theater-based activities to empower and integrate its members through artistic expression.

Performances of Anna in the Tropics take place at Burien Little Theater (437 S.W. 144th St., Burien) Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. For tickets, visit www.burienlittletheatre.org or call (206) 242-5180. For more information on Latino Theatre Projects, visit www.latinotheatreprojects.org.

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