Fahrenheit 451: Cast in the, er, glow of the recent public-school book-banning controversy (Vamos a Cuba) and fresh off its selection by the Florida Center for the Literary Arts as this year's "Big Read," Fahrenheit 451 lights up GableStage at the Biltmore in its Southeast premiere. Adapted for the stage by the author, Ray Bradbury's sci-fi classic for the three of you who didn't encounter it in grade school contemplates a future in which firemen don't put out fires: They use them to burn books. The play was commissioned by the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago in 2002; a 1966 film version by François Truffaut was adapted by the director and others. In Bradbury's vividly imagined dystopia, the written word is forbidden, and ideas are bad. (Come to think of it, that sounds like a certain world leader's vividly imagined dystopia, too.) "Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs," says Fire Captain Beatty. "Don't give them slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy." Substitute "foreign policy" for "philosophy" and you see why the ideas explored in Fahrenheit 451 are as timely as ever. Frank Houston October 14 through November 19. GableStage at the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables, 305-445-1119, www.gablestage.org.
Anna in the Tropics: Nilo Cruz's production, being put on at FIU, begins with the arrival of a Cuban lector (reader) at a small, family-run cigar plantation in Tampa during the 1930s. His reading of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina incites a blaze of yearning within the languorous clan of cigar rollers turning the factory and their lives upside down. Tolstoy's pensive passions ooze between the lines of this play, though it could have used a bit more life. José Grau offers a refreshing vitality in his portrayal of Santiago, the family's aging patriarch. Maritxell Carrero charmed as Conchita, a love-starved wife. Other than that, the drama suffers from generally flat performances. Calvin Godfrey Through October 15. Florida International University, 11200 SW Eighth St., Miami; 305-348-2895, www.fiu/~thedan.
Red Light Winter: Amsterdam ... a city of excess. Marijuana, spacecakes, magic mushrooms and did I mention a plethora of prostitutes? The place is a veritable smorgasbord of sex and drugs, so, of course, what young guy in his right mind wouldn't want to travel to this uninhibited vacation destination? In Adam Rapp's 2005 drama, a nerdy playwright suffering from writer's block is first seen trying to hang himself with his belt. Not the best way to spend a holiday. His suicide attempt is averted, however, by an unexpected friend and a romantic connection. Playwright Rapp is not content to end his plays on a hopeful note, and delivers a finale that is sexually explosive and completely unforeseen. Elias Stimac Through October 22. Mosaic Theatre, American Heritage Center for the Arts, 12200 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation, 954-577-8243, www.mosaictheatre.com.
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