‘Butterflies’ is “Adorable and Heartwarming”

Academy Drama department hits it out of the park again

Butterflies is the latest production to come from the Albuquerque Academy Theater Department and the final student written one-act before the spring musical. Written by Samantha Kauz 22’, it follows the conversations between a mother and her son (who is in the fourth grade) during a drive to pick up their husband/father from the airport. This show serves as a philosophical commentary on relationships, with perspectives from two different ages. The show explores the nature of modern-family relationships as Alex (the son) expresses his discontent with his mother, who is constantly immersed in her job, and admits that he wishes they could spend more time together. The show also comments on early romantic relationships, as they discuss Alex’s newly found affections for a girl in his class while simultaneously trying to deal with a faulty existing relationship with another girl.
This show stars Caitlyn Small ‘25, as Alex, and Gretchen Eberhardt ‘21 as his mother, Elizabeth. Shot entirely over zoom, this production features a double view presentation, with two side by side, “windows” showing the two actors, one representing the front drivers seat, and the other the rear passenger side seat. This dual perspective provides an excellent opportunity to see and experience the emotions of the characters, even when they don’t respond with words. The theater department also used some innovative ideas to make this production especially realistic despite the virtual presentation. They used color changing LED lights to simulate stop lights and even went so far as to remove the steering wheel from a faculty volunteer’s car to use it as a prop. Though both actors performed beautifully, Eberhardt’s performance, in particular, stood out to me as vibrant and compelling, clearly displaying strong emotion and delving deep into the motivations of her character.
Throughout the play their conversations center on Alex’s relationship with a girl at school named Allie, whom Alex is “in love with.” The trouble comes when Alex expresses his uncertainty with a current relationship, one in which he is not truly emotionally vested. Their conversation ends with a discussion over Elizabeth’s constant business commitments and absence from her family’s daily lives. Alex describes how he misses her and wishes she would participate in more family activities, like the gardening he and his sister like to do. Finally, Elizabeth resolves to spend more time with her family and turns off her phone which has repeatedly interrupted their conversation with calls from her work.
Overall this play is an adorable and heartwarming story of love and reconciliation. Incorporating humorous lines as well as nostalgic moments of childlike innocence that we can all relate to, this short production was pleasure to watch.