(Daniel M. Gold’s article appeared in The New York Times, 4/13.)

Complicated Emotions, Spurred by a Visit to Cuba

It’s the spring of 2004, and Ruth is angry and tired. Ruth, a Columbia University professor teaching fiction writing to graduate students she dismisses as the cowardly “children of Republicans,” rages against them and President Bush even as she rages against herself, a onetime radical, for hiding in her job. Now in her 70s, she seethes with longing: for a student with talent; for her ex-lover; and for a late-in-life show of meaning.

“Havana Journal, 2004,” the new one-act play by Eduardo Machado now at the Theater for the New City, brings Ruth to Cuba, a trip that thrills her in its illegality. In Havana she meets with Reynaldo, the male conductor of a women’s classical orchestra, and delivers an envelope to him stuffed with cash from a mutual friend. She is smitten by his smooth yet courtly manners, and his fervor for his art. And of course they can agree on how terrible the United States is.


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