— by Norm Stamper —
Amontaine Aurore, Seattle playwright and actor, has done it again.
Back in 2012, Aurore brought her hilarious and stirring one-woman play, Free Desiree to the Black Box at Orcas Center. [Last Saturday night] she returned to the big stage at the Orcas Center with the world premier of Love Letters Beyond the Veil. She gifted us with a night of unforgettable theater
Veil, written and performed by Aurore, is at once a love story, a taut tale of suspense, and a tragedy — told through words, music and dance, and leavened by a healthy dose of wry, laugh-out-loud humor. You know you’re in the hands of a master when the single character on stage can speak of “diversifying cheese and innovating eggs” …. and make the line fit the story and not come off as “cute.”
Directed by the estimable Tikka Sears, and supported by an exceptional crew, Veil is a tour de force of accomplished jazz, dance, poetry, and storytelling.
The set, designed by Celeste Cooning and erected principally of massive, beautifully conceived and executed cut paper, was unlike anything I’ve ever seen on stage. Combined with first-rate choreography by Aurore and Christy Fisher (also the show’s assistant director), smart costume design by Carolyn Hall (watch for an item of clothing that becomes a virtual character), savvy lighting by Robert Hall, and skilled sound design by Wrick Wolff, the set was truly mesmerizing.
When asked during Q&A following Saturday night’s performance whether the story (about which I’ll say no more, out of out of deference to future audiences) was autobiographical, Aurore’s quiet answer lent the evening an especially haunting quality.
As the packed house at Orcas Center rose to its feet in a spontaneous ovation, the question on many minds was, when would we be able to see Love Letters Beyond the Veil in New York?