Insight into characters from an upcoming CSUN play

Family and tradition clash with modern innovation.
Family and tradition clash with modern innovation.

“Anna in the Tropics” is a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by renowned Cuban playwright Nilo Cruz, which will open Oct. 2 in Nordhoff Hall’s Little Theater. I had an opportunity to sit down with two of the actors from the play to discuss their characters and what the process of playing them has been like. Raquel Sola plays the part of Opheliea, and Alfredo Antillion plays the part of Alfredo Antillon.

Sundial: Tell me a little about your character. How does your character deal with the situations set before him/her? What are your central conflicts?

R: My character fights for tradition; tradition versus modernity. She is a very strong-minded and opinionated woman.

A: My character represents tradition and he wants to maintain that tradition. There is one (other) character that is trying to change our way of life.

Sundial: How has this process been for you as an actor?

R: it’s been three weeks (in which) we all get along well. We go over every scene, analyzing it. It’s been fun more than anything, working with [Prof. Menzies].

Sundial: What sorts of things has your director, Prof. Menzies, taught you during this process that has helped you in the development of your character?

R: She introduced us to new techniques for warm-up, which help us with our breathing and projecting our lines in the space. [The techniques] help us to use our rib cage instead of throat and nasal voices.

A: I like that she lets us explore our own movements on the stage and make decisions our character would make. She gives us a lot of freedom and a lot of direction.

Sundial: How do you think CSUN students will respond to this play?

R: This is a complex play and you might not get it all at once. Hopefully by analyzing the play we can clarify it for the audience.

A: I think they’re going to like it. It’s very dramatic. It’s a love story.

R: With a twist. It’s something people can relate to. A love story with a twist. It’s entertaining. It has some comedy and people are going to like it.

Sundial: What would you say is the message of this piece?

R: That’s a hard one. This play says a lot about dreaming and realizing that sometimes you dream one thing and but reality does another thing.

A: I think one of the messages is … how tradition can clash with modernity. In my opinion it’s a bad thing because you always want to maintain your tradition and remember where you came from.

R: Go see it; its going to be fun! We’re working hard and we’re excited.

“Anna in the Tropics,” runs Oct. 2-11 in the Little Theatre. Discounted student tickets are available; call 818-677-2488 or visit the student union box office. Go to www.csun.edu/theatre for more information. See you at the theatre!