This Years Fall Play: I Never Saw Another Butterfly


This year, the theater department is putting on I Never Saw Another Butterfly for their fall show, a powerful play about the Holocaust. 


The story takes place in Terezin, a concentration camp near the city of Prague. The main character, Raja Englandrova, was a teacher who helped the children she was imprisoned with to remain hopeful and remember the beauty in the world. The play was based off poetry written by her students and interviews the playwright held with Englandrova, who survived the holocaust. 


The theater department is working hard to handle the sensitivity of the topic, both on and off the stage. 


To keep their portrayal of the story as respectful as possible, director Matthew Barbosa has consulted with rabbis for scenes that involve traditional Jewish customs, such as wedding ceremonies and a sabbath sundown with a prayer. 


Another challenge that the department is faced with is keeping students on the cast and crew comfortable with the roles they have in the production. Mireya Baird ‘23, who plays a woman named Renka, said, “In a way, it’s hard for me to make a huge connection with this character because I am not Jewish myself, I have not been through a holocaust, I have not lived the life of these people, even a little bit.” 


Lena Donnovan ‘24, the lead cast stage manager, talked about what is being done to help the cast members. During rehearsals, Mr. Barbosa has implemented periodic breaks to make sure everyone is doing well both physically and mentally, and to discuss the meanings behind particular scenes. 


The actors playing Nazi guards in show will have face coverings as part of their costumes, and will all have additional roles in the ensemble or as minor characters who are not Nazis. At the end of every rehearsal, the whole cast takes deep breaths together and remembers that they are not their characters. 


Similarly, the set crew is taking the time to make sure everyone involved is comfortable with building a concentration camp set. Kasey Young ‘25, lead set stage manager, says, “they [the stage crew] were kind of shocked at first when they heard the whole idea or what we were building, the whole camp and everything, but I think that after settling into a little bit they have gotten more comfortable with it.”


Overall, things are progressing well as rehearsals continue. Though people were unsure how to behave in the beginning, everyone has gotten more comfortable with their places in the production, and are doing well. 


Still, there has been backlash to the choice of show. People are questioning why the theater department is choosing to put on such a heavy, sad show. Although she’s wary of negative reviews to come, Baird says, “I think, personally, it’s a great message to give out to the world… It’s something that’s definitely real, definitely happened, and we have to explain these things from our past, and it’s a great way for students to learn about sensitivity, to learn what other people have gone through, or what their ancestors have gone through, but to feel like empathy towards people, and also understanding that we can never know what they truly went through.” 


Showtimes: This Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2-3, at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or online at: