The Golden Aurora tells the heartbreaking love story of Ned and Cassandra. Ned is a veterinarian’s helper. Cassandra is a purebred golden aurora – and champion show dog. It is love at first sight. Once their intimate relationship is revealed, Cassandra’s menacing owner flies into a rage, the town works into an uproar, and Ned must go on the run. The Golden Aurora is many things: a dark fable about redemption, an indictment of bigotry and intolerance, and an examination of love – how we know it, when we find it, how it can be twisted, abused, or misunderstood, how it can wound us, and how it can make us whole.


Writing this play began as a series of questions: What does it mean to love? What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be American? What does it mean to be the Other? But foremost I wanted to write about the mysterious, dangerous, forgiving power of love in a way that would be fresh, daring, and comical. So I wrote a fable. What I hope we learn from this fable is that when love runs most deeply, there is no knowing where the human ends and the animal begins. 


Mario Fratti,
“The Golden Aurora” by Steven Fechter.

We are in a veterinary lab. Dr. Joy (Susan Hyon) is putting a dog to sleep. Mrs. Henson (Nancy McDoniel) is obviously suffering because the dog was her only friend and companion, and she will be without him from now on. Then she sees the young Ned (David Townsend), the veterinarian’s assistant, and offers him her house – room and board and anything else. Ned is not interested because he is in love with the golden aurora, a real queen among dogs, according to the legend. Joy the veterinarian catches Ned and the dog together and is shocked.

They have a beautiful dialogue where Ned analyzes his love for the golden aurora (we don’t see her but can imagine that she is unique and beautiful). Joy tries to make herself the object of Ned’s affection, but there is nothing she can do. Schmitz (Patrick Melville), the dog’s ferocious master, comes to the lab. Ned finds an excuse to keep aurora, thinking about the arrogance of Schmitz, who we see in his house with his beautiful wife Lynn (Mary Ramussen). Then we have a dramatic scene with the wonderful Terry, Ned’s mother (the talented Sharon O’Connell). She is really convincing as a sexually active mother and is happy to see her son in love.

It all leads to an erotically charged (Lynn wants Ned) and dramatic (death) finale. A very poetic end. It is not easy for an author to be lyrical with such a subject. But Fechter takes a risk. It is a success.