The performance of “In the Time of the Butterflies” based on a novel by Julia Alavarez, directed by Roberto D. Pomo and was held by Department of Theatre & Dance at Shasta Hall of Sacramento State University on October 18 of 2017.
To set the stage for the play, the characters immediately portrayed the bond between the Mirabal sisters and foreshadowed how that bond would be challenged as the play continued. The play follows the Mirabel sisters as they defend the Dominican Republic during General Trujillo’s dictatorship. As the male playwright explains the entirety of the show, the three women playing the sisters soon come out to share their own experiences.
The show and the novel seem to have some differences, though the novel is beautifully written, adding personality to the sisters during this play created a sense of elatedness. To see the sisters in action engaged the audience and became easier to digest than some parts of the novel. The actresses helped keep the characters alive and showed how strong they were. There were breaks of music and dance to lighten the mood as well. Though the novel can seem dark and weary, the play hides that until the end and gives hope.
Not only did the music and dance help the mood of the play, but there were many elements of the play that kept the audience engaged and inspired until the very end. One of those being the lighting, as it struck from red to sun again it was easy to control the mood of the scene and it did just that. When it got very dark in the theatre, there was an eerie feeling because the audience knew what had happened. It helped control a lot of the emotions of the crowd.
Along with the music and dance there were other things that were meant to stand out to the audience. The characters would change the tone of their voices to correspond with the actions at that time. When all of the girls were getting ready to go to the ball and meant the general for the first time, their father was very stern and adamant that they need to be on time. His voice became very deep when he said to the oldest girls, “Don’t let her be late.” Later on, there was a scene where the girls were describing the death of their father and how it was not fair what had happened to him and how differently it could have been, all the girl’s voices got much higher to signify that emotional attachment to their father, it grew quite in the theatre at that part.
The performances were consistent and as collective as I have ever seen in a play. There was no disconnect between them, as if they were a family themselves. They used each other’s personalities to branch off one another and it was important that they kept that chemistry even until the very end when the audience knew their lives were coming to an end. Keeping that consistency in their performance is what made the play so great and kept the audience engaged.