THE MIRACLE THEATRE GROUP continues a recent tradition of presenting shows that engage with classic literature with Ana en el Trópico, a play about Cuban expats living in Florida that's shot through with threads of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. (The show is in Spanish, with easy-to-follow English-language supertitles.)
The year is 1929, and the owner of a traditional cigar factory has just employed a new "lector" (Enrique E. Andrade) whose job it is to read to employees as they hand-roll cigars. To the delight of the factory's female workers, the new lector opts to read Anna Karenina—soon, the book's themes of desire and infidelity begin to percolate through the workplace.
The play's most compelling throughline explores the relationship of wife-and-husband factory employees Conchita (Nurys Herrera) and Palomo (CarlosAlexis Cruz), as infidelity provides a surprising opportunity for their marriage to mature. Unfortunately, distraction comes in the form of Cheché (Jorge Elías Madrid-Enamorado), a bad guy so cartoonish he might as well be twirling a sinister moustache. The show's ending is implausible to begin with, and Madrid-Enamorado's overdrawn villainy undermines an otherwise sophisticated show.
For the most part, though, Ana en el Trópico is a satisfying offering, one that charts rich, surprising territory at the intersection of three cultures.