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‘I Never Saw Another Butterfly’: A risk BR Theater is willing to take

Bruins practice lines during auditions for “I Never Saw Another Butterfly.” Photo by Jordan Moore

Bear River Theater has had a history of incorporating unconventional shows into their production seasons. Following Drama Teacher and Director Sara Noah’s arrival three years ago, the drama program has consistently made efforts to feature different genres, authors, and acting techniques. From the audience-selected endings in And Then There Were None, to the crowd participation and improvisation in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, to the meta humor of Play On, the casts and crews have taken on each risk with poise and confidence. However, this upcoming fall production will present all new challenges. 

This November, Bear River will be producing their rendition of I Never Saw Another Butterfly by Celeste Raspanti. This tragic piece is based off the true experiences of children at Terezin, a ghettto and concentration camp of the Czech Republic, during the Holocaust. As Mrs. Noah explained, “Fifteen thousand children… went to the camp, and only one hundred survived.” The intense atmosphere surrounding this concept is in stark contrast to previous shows and has created some reservations within the theater community. 

Freshman Gena Chavez said that she believes her sense of humor may create difficulty in maintaining character on stage.

“I am very spontaneous and very loud when it comes to drama,” Chavez said. “… But during this play, it’s supposed to be very serious toned, very sad. And I can pull that off, but it takes some time. I may be able to do it a little bit. But every single time, I end up cracking with laughter. And I can’t do that.” 

While some are concerned about getting into character, others worry about getting out of character. Senior Bella Thornbury is concerned about the effect this show will potentially have on her after the curtains close.

“I think the hardest part will be to not get too sucked into the feeling of it,” said Thornbury. “Because it’s such a heavy piece and it’s super tragic, I’m kind of worried about going home and feeling super down after.”

Mrs. Noah said that she foresees a similar issue.

“Part of it too, for me, is unwinding after the show and regrouping as a cast,” said Mrs. Noah. “That’s going to be part of our process. I’ve done shows that are super heavy. And you just need to regroup, and get back everybody again at the end and come back to reality, because it is dark. It’s a difficult piece.” 

Though these obstacles are clear in the program’s path, excitement for the show far outweighs any fear. Junior Noah Mann for example, said that he is ready to expand his acting repertoire with a new genre. 

“A lot of the stuff I do is just comedy,” he said. “It’s just making people laugh. So this is a different view than that, which I’m excited for.”

Chavez agreed, discussing how this show will present a new perspective of Bear River’s performers. 

“It shows a different side to what drama could be,” she said. “It shows the dark side, where you can not only be comical, what a lot of people think actors are, but where you can be serious. You can be sad. You can be a lot of these different things that people don’t see drama kids as.”

Thornbury sees this experience as a great educational opportunity to learn more about her family’s history.

“Although its weird to say, I’m actually kind of excited because of my family heritage,” she said. “I’m Jewish, and had grandparents in the Holocaust. So I think it’s going to be kind of cool to see how they felt, and what they experienced, and what they went through.”

This enthusiasm can be found in the tech department as well. Theater Tech Teacher Erin Beatie said that this is all a part of the theater experience.

“We’re storytellers, and whether the story is good, bad, or indifferent, as long as we are making a difference in people’s lives, you know, that’s the important part,” Mrs. Beatie explains. “It’s a little bit of awareness, it’s a little bit of history, so it hits all the check marks.”

She then goes on to explain what her class is looking forward to with this show.

“This is going to be our first time that we have all student designers as apart of our process,” she said. “So students are currently learning how to do hand drafting, 3-dimensional drafting, and we have student set-designers, student lighting-designers, costume designers, [and] projection designers.”

Theater Tech Student Leo Jackson said that she is thrilled to start working as a designated sound designer for this production. 

“I think it’s probably going to be one of the most impressive plays we’ve ever had.” Jackson remarked.

The Bear River Drama Program invites the community to come enjoy their production of I Never Saw Another Butterfly on the evenings of November 7th-9th and 14th-16th. Curtains open at 7:00 pm in the Bear River auditorium. Tickets will go on sale October 21st and can be found online at It is $10.00 for general entry and $8.00 for students and seniors. 

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‘I Never Saw Another Butterfly’: A risk BR Theater is willing to take