‘I Never Saw Another Butterfly’ opens Friday"I Never Saw Another Butterfly” by Celeste Raspati is the story of a young Czech girl, Raja Englandvreoa, who along with more than 60,000 other Jews was held in the Terezin ghetto in Prague before dying there or being sent to Auschwitz.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
"I Never Saw Another Butterfly” by Celeste Raspati is the story of a young Czech girl, Raja Englandvreoa, who along with more than 60,000 other Jews was held in the Terezin ghetto in Prague before dying there or being sent to Auschwitz.
Raja, played by Katie Crimmins, is at the center of the Hudson High School production, which opens tomorrow night. The play is staged in a black box format. The audience sits onstage just inside the fence, directly in front of the walls of the ghetto.
Despite the fact that almost everyone she knew in the four years she spent in Terezin died, Raja’s story is one of survival and hope.
“She goes through so much and loses almost everyone she meets in Terezin,” said Crimmins. “But she learns from Irina (her teacher) and the others, that if only one person survives, they all do in a way. She learned to hold onto whatever she could and was determined to live for all of the others.”
Crimmins said the play is about the strength of the human spirit and how people can pass that strength on to each other even if they don’t survive. “The message is, Don’t be afraid of needing other people just out of fear of losing them. They are important and we should enjoy each other for as long as we can.”
Arianna Schultz is Crimmins’ best friend at HHS and as Irina, Raja’s teacher, they are close on stage as well. She describes her character as calm, rational and honest in the face of the horror of the situation. “She tries to explain to Raja that despite everything bad that is happening, there is good too. And even as she loses the people she cares about, she has to hold on and survive for herself and for them.”
Sophomore Lucas McGee plays Alfred, one of the children of Terezin. As part of the preparation for their roles, they had to make up their character’s story.
“I tried to imagine what it would be like to be starving and have the people around you all dying. You feel so scared but something inside you keeps you going.”
All three actors like the experience of being so close to the audience. Schultz likes being able to look in the faces in front of her without being blinded by stage lights. “It has to be honest, second nature, if we want them to believe it is real.”
Crimmins agrees. “You don’t exaggerate your movements like on a normal stage. The opposite is really true. You have to act like they are part of what you are doing, that they are almost part of the cast. Acting in a black box you have to find an ‘inside power’ to express your character.”
There is seating for 78 onstage. The play runs for an hour with no intermission.
Performances run two weekends with shows at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. Sundays.
Dates are Friday and Saturday, March 27-28, April 3-4 (7 p.m.); and Sunday, March 29 and April 5 (2 p.m.).
Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for students and children. Tickets are available at the HHS box office Monday-Friday, 2:45-4 p.m.; Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 6-7:30 p.m. The box office is located in HHS next to the auditorium – enter the school through the center doors by the auditorium.
See the attached Photo Gallery for more photos from the play's dress rehearsal.