Friday, August 17, 2012

Do Not Miss ‘A Time for Butterflies’

Art = Change…that is the vision of Quiet, a multidisciplinary arts community based in Seattle. This group firmly believes that they can help bring change to our world by art and conversation. After each night’s performance, the audience is invited to a short conversation with the cast, crew and fellow organization members for those who would like to stay. The group’s latest project is “A time for Butterflies,” an original play written by Quiet’s Artistic Director, Josh Hornbeck and it is worth seeing.

Perhaps the group’s promotional material for this play does it some disservice. The images suggest a serious and somber performance when in fact; it is actually quite light with humor plugged in at the right places. It is half of a children’s fantasy story with the other half being more realistic. Surprisingly, it all works.

Quiet's logo
The play opens with a fairly bare stage representing the home of the Sanchez family. Alex Sanchez  (Enrique Olguin) is seen telling his baby daughter the story of “The Worm and the Butterfly.” While he tells the story, the lights dim and another set are revealed behind the home scene. It is filled with boxes and ramps decorated in bright colors. The story is about a lowly worm that wants desperately to become a butterfly. However, in his quest to find the answer, he encounters many negative insects that try to steal his dream away from him. Actors come out in interesting costumes, share a little of the story and then the play resumes back to Alex and his family.

Alex is a man who works hard, plays by the rules and longs for the American Dream. At times the “dream” seems a lot like the children’s story with Alex playing the worm. He wife Estella (Anabel Hovig) commiserates with his struggles to make money for the family. His daughter Sarah (Ana Maria Campoy) is his butterfly. She is going to college and preparing for herself a better life. She wants to help her parents financially, but neither of them will allow it. Their pride is too great.

Alex spends his days as a day laborer waiting for someone to offer him work. He does so with Ramon Martinez (Matt Aguayo) a family friend. As each day passes, no work comes but the bills keep adding up and Alex is tempted to do the wrong thing in hopes of making things better for him and his family.

With the exception of Olguin, all of the characters play dual roles -  their human, real life character and a storybook character. The play tackles themes like police brutality, prejudice, green cards, family, love and more. Alex is a man of integrity but he gets tempted just like everyone else. Audience members will find themselves debating how they think about such topics throughout the play.

Josh Hornbeck
Hornbeck does a great job showing different points of view to the same story throughout and play moves swiftly with many short scenes rather than long drawn out ones. The actors all do a fine job, especially Anabel Hovig who plays Estella Sanchez. During her whole performance, you never feel as if she is “acting” – she just IS Estella.

While not a “religious” play, “Butterflies” Christians will relate to the struggles of Alex wanting to do the right thing and wanting to do the easy thing. While the ending isn’t a happy one, it is a satisfying one and will leave you wanting to talk – which again, is the point of Quiet.

It should be noted that there is a fair amount of strong language in this play, but it doesn’t come off as inappropriate. And even though there is the children’s story element to the play, this play isn’t intended for children.

“A Time for Butterflies” continues tonight and tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. at the Broadway Performance Hall located at 1625 Broadway Avenue in Seattle. Tickets can be purchased online for $10 or $12 at the door. Students and military can get in for just $5.

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