Peter Brook to Stage Theater for the New City's SOTTO VOCE in French
The Miami Herald reported last week that "Sotto Voce" by Nilo Cruz, which Theater for the New City commissioned and produced for its world premiere February 15 to March 9, will be staged by legendary director Peter Brook in a French version in the future, with other versions to follow. Mr. Brook, Director of Théatre du Nord in Paris, was quoted as calling the play "beautiful."
This exciting news came amid the Herald's rave review of the play, which was presented with its TNC cast by Arca Images at Miami-Dade County's Auditorium March 20-23. Herald critic Christine Dolen called it a "lovely, lyrical play" which too few Miamians would get to see, owing to its short, sold-out run. The review deemed the piece "a play with a future," even without the involvement of Mr. Brook.
There was abundant praise for all three actors of the TNC cast of Franca Sofia Barchiesi, Andhy Mendez and Arielle Jacobs, by whom the play was "brought to vibrant life."
Next month, playwright Nilo Cruz will receive the Greenfield Prize in Sarasota. He is only the third playwright to receive this Prize since its inception in 2009; the other drama winners were Craig Lucas (2009) and John Guare (2011).
The play was commissioned by Theater for the New City, with support from the New York State Council on the Arts and the NEA, after TNC's Executive Artistic Director, Crystal Field, met Mr. Cruz at the Bogota Theater Festival in 2012. TNC's world premiere was directed by Mr. Cruz, as was the Miami production.
"Sotto Voce" is a dream play in which a passionate, Jewish-Cuban young man (Saquiel) sets out to recover memories of the S.S. St. Louis which, in 1939, left Nazi Germany for Cuba filled with Jewish refugees but was turned back by Cuba, the U.S. and Canada. The young man's grandaunt was on the voyage. He seeks out a prominent, elderly, German-born novelist (Bemadette) who, as a young woman, loved a Jewish man who was a passenger to Cuba on the ship. Saquiel assumes the place of her lost lover in her powerful imagination. They both begin to fantasize a metaphysical love affair in which they share the conundrum of coming to grips with memories of that "voyage of the damned." She is trying to master them, he is seeking to understand them. The play venerates the supreme power of imagination that could bring these different people together.
Pictured: Franca Sofia Barchiesi (L) plays a German-born novelist who is haunted by memories of the S.S. St. Louis, which left Nazi Germany for Cuba filled with Jewish refugees but was turned back. Andhy Mendez (R) as a passionate, Jewish-Cuban young man who is obsessed with the ship's history. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.