Bay Street Theater’s production of “Anna in the Tropics” is led by director Marcos Santana. It begins previews in Sag Harbor starting Tuesday, June 28 with the official opening night scheduled for Saturday, July 2nd. It runs until July 24th.
Director Marcos Santana talked exclusively with hamptons.com about the 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Nilo Cruz. Mr. Santana is excited about the way the cast has come together and predicts a very “powerful” production. He said the cast of Christian Barillas, Maria Isabel Bilbao, Serafin Falcon, Illiana Guibert, Guillermo Ivan, Anthony Michael Martinez and Christine Spang is locked in and surpassing his expectations in their roles. He said, “They are all fabulous, they all go through this individual journey that I could not pick one actor over another.”
When asked why this show is important Mr. Santana said, “I think in the times when many theaters are doing their part and are trying to explore material that is culturally specific and different from what they normally do, sadly there isn’t a lot of material out there with big names like Anna in the Tropics. This show is an American story about Cuban Americans in a time when things were changing and traditions were being jeopardized by modernism.”
A passionate man, Director Santana added, “I think still to this day we are still dealing with these issues, like how do we keep traditions alive as modernism keeps coming at our ways in big waves.”
On what may surprise the Bay Street audience Mr. Santana said, “I think the whole show is a surprise. When I saw the production the second time it was on Broadway, I was surprised the entire time. The way Nilo Cruz writes with lines that can be so beautifully executed, and even though the play is in English the way it is written it almost seems like you are listening in Spanish.”
Marcos Santana said part of the charm of the production is that when it starts, “You sort of don’t know what the play is about. Then a series of events happen that trigger everybody’s journey through the play.”
Where does the magic of the show come from? He said, “Even though there are only seven characters, the seven characters are affected by literature when Tolstoy’s ‘Anna Karenina,’ is introduced into their lives.”
About staging Anna in the Tropics on the unique Bay Street Stage, Marcos Santana said he believes he is doing something that hasn’t been done with the space before. He said, “Me and my design team did extensive research with a lot of image research along with reading about the time period (1929) along with the tobacco factories around that time.
We fell in love with this almost clinical architectural [space] … very organized, very clean. So our set designer, Luciana Stecconi, decided to open the space in the theater in a way I haven’t seen there before…with us using all the extreme stage left and stage right to open up the space for better visibility.”
The idea is to create the illusion that the show takes place in a tall building with columns, and will be using projection design. He stressed that his agreement with Bay Street was that he could bring in his own team including Milton Cordero as projection designer. In fact, Mr. Santana stressed his whole team is Latino except for perhaps one individual.
Mr. Santana confessed he is curious to hear what the audience will discuss along with the conversations after they view the play. He said he hopes to hear them say things like, “What if she had done this or he would have done that maybe this would have happened.” That’s what he believes will be the question the audience will be able to answer themselves.
Bay Street Theater Artistic Director Scott Schwartz, when he introduced the lineup for the 2022 season, specifically mentioned his excitement to see this show, in July at Bay Street with an all-Latino cast and production crew. He said at his press conference, “I know this show is going to be fabulous, it’s going to blow the traditional Bay Street crowd away.”