by Nilo Cruz
I guess one thumb each way.
In this play, Mr. Cruz uses as the setting of his book a cigar factory in Florida during the early decades of the 1900s. Apparently, it was common in those days for immigrant factory workers to hire a reader to educate and entertain them while they worked. (I also found this phenomenon mentioned in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Interesting idea). The reader would schedule various kinds of readings throughout the day: newspapers, novels, poetry, etc.
The setting is interesting, the characters are colorful and true to their natures, the plot is kind of depressing.
The action of the play is an interweaving of the lives of the factory workers with the plot of the book the reader was reading, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. It is a creative idea. I wish he had chosen a different novel.
I've always wanted to read Anna Karenina, because it is such a pretty sounding name. Now I think I'll pass. I know it's a "great work" and all, but apparently just a big huge adulterous affair.