Review: AURORA - Bottle Alley Creates Pure Magic

AURORA - A Magical Moment

By: May. 16, 2024
Review: AURORA - Bottle Alley Creates Pure Magic
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Review: AURORA - Bottle Alley Creates Pure Magic

Bottle Alley Theatre is undoubtedly Austin’s most creative theatre company. From their incredible scripts to their out-of-the-ordinary performance spaces, they can take a thread of thought and weave a singular moment in time for their audience. A stunning lyrical dream, AURORA is so deeply beautiful it’s difficult for me to convey the experience to my dear readers in any coherent form, but I’ll give it a try. 

Bottle Alley Theatre Company founder Chris Fontanes has written an incredible script full of wonder, hope, and humanity. He infuses his characters with such beautiful dialogue that the whole work has a poetic feel. AURORA is Fontanes at his finest; his words are the magic that creates this perfect jewel set with care by director Trace Turner and a stellar cast. 

Set in a field in Texas, after nightfall, we see a lone storage trailer featuring a scrap DIY receiving tower that rises high above the said trailer. Aurora (Rosemary McGraw), the title character, was found in a field thirty years ago and raised in the nearby tiny Texas town. Her adopted mother told her she was a ‘star seed,’ a child from another planet, an alien being sewn across the universe. While Aurora’s origins may be hazy, her purpose is clear: she wants to be returned to the stars from whence she came. Her friend and co-worker, Andi (Cassandra DeFreitas), arrives via car (yes, a real car) to emotionally tether Aurora to Earth with bonds of love. Later, when stranger Anne (Bonnie Lambert) arrives, those bonds are tested. The story flows by at an otherworldly pace that keeps the audience attentive to every motion and hanging on every word. 

The cast of AURORA is stellar indeed. Rosemary McGraw in the title role gives a beautiful performance as the woman in search of meaning in her existence. She is a magnetic actor using her talent to connect on a human level with the audience. Cassandra DeFreitas as Andi brings laughter and true companionship to Aurora’s life. McGraw and DeFreitas have such immediate chemistry together one feels the love smack you right in the heart; it’s a gift to see these amazing actors work together. Last, but by no means least, Bonnie Lambert brings the wildcard into the mix. Lambert is equal parts wondering innocence and ethereal mystery; the result is magnificent, poignant and thought-provoking. 

In addition to a spellbinding cast and script, the entirety of AURORA is exquisitely produced by Bottle Alley. Perhaps the biggest part of DIY theatre is adapting to the space, something Bottle Alley does better than anyone else. A small lot of land is transformed into a theatre space so well it’s difficult to imagine this show in any traditional venue. Trace Turner’s direction is seamless, clear, and true to the material. His use of the outdoor space at Paper Plate Gallery focuses the audience on the actors with pinpoint accuracy. Lighting, designed by Patrick Anthony, is by far superior to any outdoor production I have ever seen. Creating an atmosphere that enhances the ethereal experience, Anthony’s lighting is simply gorgeous. 

I urge you to go and fully enjoy the Bottle Alley AURORA experience before it vanishes into the foggy mist.


by Chris Fontanes 

Directed by Trace Turner

Bottle Alley at Paper Plate Gallery, 3601 McNeil Dr House/Unit A, Austin, TX 78727

Fri, May 10, 2024, 8:30 PM - Sun, May 19, 2024, 9:30 PM

Running Time: 80 minutes with no intermission. 



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