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OAP aims to net “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”

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OAP aims to net “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”

Cast members rehearse at OAP portraying Terezin children.

Cast members rehearse at OAP portraying Terezin children.

-photo by Kaitlyn Cole

Cast members rehearse at OAP portraying Terezin children.

-photo by Kaitlyn Cole

-photo by Kaitlyn Cole

Cast members rehearse at OAP portraying Terezin children.


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“I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” by Celeste Raspanti will be performed by the theatre department for the UIL One Act Play competition on March 3. This Holocaust play is based on the book created by poems and drawings from the children in Terezin.

 This Holocaust play centers around Raja, one of the children and the other children trapped in the Ghetto. A memory play, Raja recalls the events that led her to be the confident woman she is now. This play was based off true stories of these children’s lives, based on actual drawings and poems that were buried in hopes of someone finding them after the war.

“I actually did not decide to try out for that particular role (Honza), I went for the role of Irena, but it’s amazing what things can happen in the audition room,” seventh-grader, Ellis Smith, said.

More than 14,000 students in Texas are participating in UIL competitions. Willow Springs Theatre Department will be competing with two other middle schools. This 40-minute drama is the WSMS theatre department’s UIL competition piece for One Act Play, which will take place on March 3 in Grand Prairie. Students work hard to practice their scripts and blocking with the other actors.

“We’ve competed for 11 years and we have won 1st place in all except for 2. Each year we have also won multiple awards for best actor, actress, and tech,” Willow Springs Middle School theatre teacher, Donella DiPasquale said.

This play has made a second appearance for the Lovejoy Middle School program. Previously produced in the late 2000’s.

“Every year we read a ton of plays to find the right fit for the class. This year we happen to have many girls, so we had to obviously start with a show that was girl heavy, but then as we read them….It’s just like trying on shoes when you find the one that fits, you know it fits,” DiPasquale said.  

Work on this production began in November and after school rehearsals started in January, a month before the competition. Mrs. DiPasquale and Miss Su, the directors, have worked with the five members of tech crew. The students have fixed lights, made costumes, created a sound design, and always kept the stage ready for practice.

“Students also learned many rules and procedures for the performance with a “rulebook” for OAP that is more than 100 pages long and includes everything from how many branches a school is allowed to use in a single production to how much fabric is allowed on stage…. There are time limits. Imagine playing basketball without a time clock – you have to just “feel” when the buzzer is going to end the time – there is no large clock – but if the show goes over 40 minutes they are disqualified, whereas in basketball you can make that last shot as the buzzer sounds and it will count,” DiPasquale said. 

Students work hard to perfect this show and amaze the judges. Working on this show twice every day shows a lot of effort that these actors and actresses are putting in.

“We practice during our OAP class, which is in the second period and then we practice almost every day after school from 4 to 6 pm. We also prepared by going to the Holocaust Museum on Martin Luther King Day, and we came back to the school and just talked about everything we learned and got a better understanding of how those people felt,” eighth-grader, Kendall Hartness, said.

There are 15 actors, 5 technicians, two alternates and two “apprentices” who are not in the class but attend after school for rehearsals. They call these two our “OAP babies” because they are learning the ropes for next year after proving hard work and dedication throughout our first production of Madagascar.  Twenty-two kids from the OAP class are in the play and each one of them is preparing for their specific job. The class reads well over ten scripts per year to find the right one for the competition.

“I Never Saw Another Butterfly” is a very intense play because of the topic. The Holocaust was a very heartbreaking part of history to many people due to the fact that many people were slaughtered, and they weren’t just Jews.

“I feel like it makes you very compassionate about other people because it makes you feel what other people went through,” Jordan Day, eighth-grader, said.

The most important takeaway from this show should be acceptance of difference.  Every person, group, race, religion…. All have a place. We must accept one another’s differences in order to prevent this genocide from ever happening again to ANY person or group. The OAP class really felt this needed to be emphasized with our current culture of hate towards specific groups of people here in America and the ongoing genocide in Darfur.

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OAP aims to net “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”