I Never Saw Another Butterfly

The+SCW+players+in+costume+before+the+performance+Thursday+night.

The SCW players in costume before the performance Thursday night.

Mackenzie McGuire, contributor

A few weeks back, the SCW Players put on their first performance of the year: A Holocaust piece entitled, I Never Saw Another Butterfly.  This play was inspired by the children of Terezin during the Holocaust, a period during World War II where around 6 million Jews tragically lost their lives.  In Terezin’s case, 15,000 children would pass through the ghetto.  However, when the ghetto was liberated on May 8, 1945, only about 100 remained.  The story of the ghetto is kept alive through the poems of the children during their time in the camp.

Raja (Ella Smith) and Honza (Kieran Hefele) conversing during the performance.

The show follows the story of Raja Englanderova, the main character of the piece.  Born a Jewish woman in Prague (located in the now Czech Republic), Raja was around the age of thirteen when she was taken to Terezin.  As the story progresses, it would follow her into adulthood up to the liberation and her return to Prague.  Raja Englanderova was portrayed by talented junior Ella Smith, a third year member of the SCW Players.

When asked about the show altogether, all the cast members had positive feedback to give about the show, including new friendships, memories, and a new experience under each actor’s belt.

“My favorite part of the show was the ending, because it’s at the end when the show starts to hit everyone as a true story”, says freshman Raine Kean, who acted as one of the smaller children in the show.

“My favorite part of the show was the wedding, because it was a happier moment in the show”, says sophomore Madeline Stockmann, who has had previous experience in the SCW players with her notable role of Lucy in last spring’s musical: You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.

“My favorite part of the show is also what brought me closest to tears. When Irena (Hannah) revealed to Raja (Ella) that she had a child that she was also separated from on the way to Terezin. Hannah’s performance was very very moving, and never failed to hurt my soul”, says sophomore Julia Steele, one of the children in the show with two other notable roles: Jennie Mae in The Diviners, and Sally in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.

“My favorite part of the show was the amazing cast and crew, they made the very difficult subject more easy to comprehend, and we can’t forget about our amazing lead Ella”, says sophomore Anna-Kate Baumann, a second year member of the players and one of the children in the show.

“The biggest challenge honestly had to have been memorizing my lines. Although there weren’t a ton compared to others, this was my first big role and I was kind of nervous if I could actually pull it off”, says senior Kieran Hefele, who played love interest Honza in the show.

 

However, with tragedy comes challenges.  Each actor also commented on their own challenges character-wise, both internal and external.

From left to right: Junior Morgan Money, (Aunt Vera) junior Laraya Duncan (Mother), and senior Noah Clark (Father) during the dinner scene.

“I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’d say everything was a challenge. I really wanted the audience to know the story of Terezin: to understand that this truly did happen and what it did to so many lives. I worked really hard to try to convey the many strong emotions in this play. I practiced every night in front of a mirror, I researched the Holocaust, and I practiced my German accent a lot. Even though it was a lot of work, I’m really happy that I got to be apart of this play, I hope I was able to spread the message of Raja Englanderova”, says junior and lead Ella Smith.

“One of the challenges for me was learning to speak in a German accent and learn the proper punctuation of the Sabbath Ceremony”, says junior Laraya Duncan, who portrayed the mother of Raja during the show.

“Some of the challenges were how difficult the show could be at times.  The topic is extremely sensitive: just seeing everyone making a real tragedy come alive was really tear jerking”, says freshman Sarah Massman-Kaufman, who portrayed one of the children in the show.

“Well, my character was VERY different from myself, so it was difficult, but I tried to picture actual nurturing adult figures, including teachers like Irena, and tried to replicate some of their mannerisms, specifically in my voice. I lost count of how many times I was told to speak more gently to the children! It took a lot of trial and error, believe me, but I think the word paid off in the end.”, says junior Hannah Schmitz, the nurturing and loving teacher named Irena in the show.

From a tech standpoint, the show was also seen to have its challenges and rewards.

“The best part of the show was the wedding, because we had a 30 second dress change with Maya that got better and better each time”, says head of dressing room and junior Brittni Jones.

 

A note from the writer: SCW players, your interpretation of the show was an absolute masterpiece! Your ability to act and perform sensitive topics is unmatched.  Thank you for providing us with this knowledge of the tragedy and a show worth remembering.

If you are interested in joining the SCW players, please see theatre and English I teacher Ms. Nigus for more information.