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The Long and Twisted Route to 'Islands' : Eduardo Machado attempts to address the Cuban American experience in a complexly plotted four-play drama. He succeeds only when he lets his characters go.


The last play, "Broken Eggs" is perhaps the most successful because the playwright is no longer explaining a culture, he is simply showing us a little of our own. As the characters stretch out on the stage in a Valium haze as one sings about the lost homeland, the toll of all of the political and personal upheaval is exacted in a sweet, sad scene. It's as if, having told his story, the playwright has finally rested and let the characters and their pain simply take over the stage.

* "Floating Islands," Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., Tuesday-Saturday, 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday matinees, 2 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Ends Dec. 11. $28-$35 for each part, $56-$71 for both. (213) 972-0700. Running time: Part One, 3 hours; Part Two, 3 hours. Miriam Colon: Maria Josefa, Manuela

Victor Argo: Arturo, Oscar, Alfredo

Marissa Chibas: Manuela, Rosa, Clara, Mimi

Shawn Elliott: Mario, Osvaldo

Jaime Sanchez: Ernesto, Alfredo

Tim Perez: Miguel, Fernando

Josie de Guzman: Dolores, Sonia

Wanda de Jesus: Adelita, Miriam

Joe Urla: Oscar, Osvaldo, young Oscar

Alma Cuervo: Manuela, Sonia

Yul Vazquez: Hugo, Pedro, Adam Rifkin

William Marquez: Antonio

Rosana de Soto: Cusa

Gloria Mann: Sara

Kamala Dawson: Lizette

A Center Theatre Group production. By Eduardo Machado. Directed by Oskar Eustis. Set design by Eugene Lee. Costumes by Marianna Elliott. Lighting by Paulie Jenkins. Sound by Jon Gottlieb. Choreography by Naomi Goldberg. Music supervisor Nathan Birnbaum. Music director Jeff Rizzo. Fight director Randy Kovitz. Production stage manager James T. McDermott.

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