Aurora Theater Captures the Power of Healing Through Memories



A lyrical memory play that connects modern day Cuba with the Holocaust, audiences are invited to experience Aurora Theatre’s presentation of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz’s resilient Sotto Voce, April 15-May 8! Decades after the S.S. St. Louis was rejected by Cuba when seeking refuge from Nazi-Germany, one woman’s continued grief for the loss of her great love who traveled on that fateful ship, combined with a young student’s persistent interest in the past, transcends into an ethereal romance based on the woman’s memories.


“It’s a story about humanity, healing and allowing the past to propel us into the future instead of allowing it to hold us captive,” says director and Aurora Associate Artistic Director Justin Anderson. “Although it stems from an event almost 80 years ago, it is as relatable and necessary as ever in our current world landscape in light of the ongoing and harrowing refugee crisis happening in the Middle East and Europe right now, and the immigration debate continuing in our own backyards.”

Aurora Producing Artistic Director Anthony Rodriguez is compelled by theater that relates to what is happening in the world too. “Sotto Voce is about a Cuban student striving to understand one small part of the Holocaust so the people who died in it are not forgotten. The plays that connect us as a community help forward our belief that, theater is for all,” he says.


Set in 1939, amidst World War II, German-born novelist Bemadette Kahn lost the love of her life when the S.S. St. Louis was rejected by Cuba, the U.S. and Canada, sending hundreds of Jewish refugees back to Europe to perish within concentration camps. Now 60 years later, a young Jewish-Cuban writer contacts Bemadette to uncover the forgotten story of her lost love Ariel Strauss, a passenger on that ill-fated voyage. As the past begins to resurface for Bemadette and her relationship with the young writer deepens, the unlikely duo is guided by her memories to form an inimitable romance.

Cruz, who was the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize in drama, intertwines the culture of his Cuban roots into his stories. To serve more of Atlanta’s richly diverse community, this production will be performed in English with Spanish supertitles as part of Aurora’s Teatro Aurora initiative. Directed by Anderson, the three-person cast stars four-time Suzi Bass Award nominee Marianne Fraulo (Bemadette Kahn), Saquiel Rafaeli/Ariel Strauss (Louis Gregory) and Lucila Pulpo/Nina Strauss (Denise Arribas).


Sotte Voce will be most enjoyed by adults and teens. The show runs April 15-May 8. Tickets range from $20-$30 and can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 678-226-6222.

Show times are as follows:

  • Thursday- Saturday: 8 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday: 2:30 p.m.

Prior to the performance on Thursday, April 21, a Community Conversation: The Forgotten Ships of Souls will be held beginning at 7:15 p.m. Audiences are invited to join Aurora for a discussion detailing the voyage of the S.S. St. Louis and the ultimate rejection of hundreds of Jewish refugees trying to escape Nazi Germany. The inquisitive conversation will focus on the resiliency of love, the power of memories and how individuals can grow and cope from the choices – in and out of our control – in the past.

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