Nilo Cruz, a playwright intent on documenting the modern Cuban experience, brings his latest to Florida Stage, Dec. 10-Jan. 16, 2000. A Bicycle Country tells of three Cuban rafters making their way across the Caribbean.
The production just happens to coincide with last week's international news story about a young boy who survived a flotilla (though his mother did not). Florida Stage spokesperson Caroline Breder explained, "It's very timely. On Thanksgiving weekend some rafters came over, most of them died. This boy clung to an inner tube and made it to Florida. Now [Fidel] Castro is calling for his return to Cuba, threatening massive protests if he's not returned. The boy's father is still in Cuba and he wants the child back. But people are saying the father is just the puppet of Castro. It's this very political situation -- and that's exactly what this play is about! It follows two men and a woman who want a better life in America. And the second act has them taking the same journey the little boy did."
Starring in the show are Gilbert Cruz (no relation), Oscar Riba and Sol Miranda.
Author Cruz holds an MFA from Brown University, where he taught playwriting. Among his other plays are Graffiti, Dancing on Her Knees and Two Sisters and a Piano, which premiered at NJ's McCarter Theatre, followed by a staging in April in Costa Mesa, CA. (Loretta Greco's staging of Piano is due to arrive at off-Broadway's Public Theatre in February.) Cruz traveled to London last year through the Audrey Skirball-Kenis exchange program and was guest artist at the Royal Court Theatre.
Guest director Benny Sato Ambush directs A Bicycle Country. For tickets and information call (561) 585-3433. Closing the company's 1999-2000 season will be Helen Edmundson's The Clearing, a drama about the Irish wife of an English loyalist set in 17th Century Ireland.
-- By David Lefkowitz