Juniors Kayla Jystad and Jared Wise and sophomore Meaghan Skelly perform in the annual fall play, “I Never Saw Another Butterfly.” The show had a significant impact on many in the cast. (Photo/Madi Beddingfield/Golden Fleece Media – See Gallery Below)
This past week, students presented the play “I Never Saw Another Butterfly.” It showed on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 pm and held an open rehearsal Wednesday night for anyone as well.
The play takes place in a concentration camp called Terezin during the end of WWII with flashbacks to the main character’s home of Prague. The main character Raja, played by junior Kayla Jystad, narrates the entire show.
“This was one of my first major roles in a play, and at the start, it was definitely very nerve-wracking because the show depends so much on Raja’s story,” Jystad said. “It depends so much on her commentary, and of course I didn’t want to do wrong by anything that had to do with the play because it’s such a deep subject.”
Sophomore Meaghan Skelly played the role of the mother in the show and said she spent long hours memorizing her lines to perfection. She admitted that the role transformed her view of the Holocaust.
“It really gave me a perspective of a family rather than just a single Jew in the Holocaust. I didn’t ever really think about the families — every single person in the Holocaust or Auschwitz had an entire family and a story — every one of them,” Skelly said.
Many of the actors echoed that they tried their best to step into their character’s shoes but believed they could never truly do it justice.
“I didn’t ever really think about the families — every single person in the Holocaust or Auschwitz had an entire family and a story — every one of them.” – Sophomore Meaghan Skelly
“I’m pleased. I think you can never really grasp something like this because you’ve never experienced something like it. I think I have done as good a job as I could and I feel pretty good about it,” junior Maddy Churchill said.
Churchill played both Erika, a friend of Raja, and a child for most of the show.
Each actor was responsible for conducting his/her own research to figure out how best to portray their character.
As the main character, Jystad had the majority of lines to memorize. She said she uses written ques in hopes of memorizing them before tech week.
“I definitely spent many nights just sitting at my desk in my spiral notebook writing out my lines in paragraphs and not stopping because that’s the only way that I really know how to learn lines,” Jystad said.
Junior Jared Wise portrayed the role of the father, Josef, and found his character to be unique and interesting.
“I’ve never really heard the perspective, in depth, of someone of a higher authority male figure. Because it’s such a sad event, women and children are the people we care about most when it comes to emotional attachment–those stories are more hard hitting, and I just have never heard ‘Steve’s’ point of view of the Holocaust,” Wise said.
Most actors already have a role in mind when it comes to auditions, but with “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” students expressed that they did not know much about the show before auditioning and therefore were satisfied with whatever role they received.
“I had not (heard of the show before auditioning), which I liked because I wasn’t emotionally attached to getting a certain role. I was very nonchalant about what I was placed in,” Wise said.
Senior Daniel Lowman plays the role of the main character’s love interest named Honza. To both Lowman and Wise, the most moving scene in the show was the ending where all the characters except Raja stand on the stage and drop concrete dust from their hands at the same time, symbolizing their deaths.
“The end, with the ashes, by far, is amazingly powerful. Having the one person that survived and every single person who she has cared about and lost standing in a line behind her dropping their own burnt bodies onto the floor… it’s just crazy to think about,” Wise said.
Jystad believes that this play was very important to the community and to the cast.
“You can research every single day and try to put yourself in their shoes, but you can never fully put yourself in the shoes of someone in the Holocaust. When you get this close, it’s so much different,” she said.
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