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YouTheatre presents 'Butterfly' at Armory

Agudas Israel Synagogue is partnering with YouTheatre of Flat Rock Playhouse to commemorate the Holocaust with the presentation of, "I Never Saw Another Butterfly," which opened Thursday night and continues Friday night and Saturday afternoon at the National Guard Armory.

A triumph of the human spirit, the play shares the hopes, the fears, and the beauty of the children of the Terezin concentration camp.From 1942 to 1945, 15,000 children passed through Terezin before being shipped off to other concentration camps, where all but 100 were exterminated. Told from the perspective of one of Terezin's survivors, "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" is based on a collection of poems written by the children of the Jewish Ghetto in Terezin and chronicles the experiences of these children of the Holocaust, and celebrates the strength and beauty of the human spirit, embodied in their artwork.

Despite the horrific living conditions, adults in the camp encouraged the children to draw what they saw and write poems on scraps of paper. The innocent and honest depictions in the artwork and poetry they left behind allow us to see through the eyes of the children of what life was like in the camp.

There were no butterflies for the children behind the barbed wire, but for those that survived, the transformational winged creatures became a symbol of defiance that gave them strength and hope. The play centers on Raja, one of the child survivors, and her family and friends. She shares her story of living in the concentration camp, while retaining memories and the hope to return to a world filled with butterflies and flowers. The music featured in the production is based upon Hebrew melodies and Jewish Folk Music and can be found on various albums featuring the work of Alexander Shonert, Zina Schiff and Cameron Grant

The YouTheatre production is directed by Dave Hart and features a cast of local adults and YouTheatre students. The cast includes Brad Owen (Father), Tania Lenore (Mother), Traci Gardner (Irena), Melanie Owen (Irena), Amy Rogers (Irca), Madeline Popkin and Lainie Robertson (double cast as Raja/Zdenka), Patty Siebert (the adult Raja), Justin White and Cooper Burke (double cast as Honza/Pavel), with the children of Terezin played by: Faith Augustine, Karis Horner, Emily Johnson, Clarke MacDonald, Gracie Mayer, Ava Moss, Ryan Nix, Caroline Owen, Eleanor Palmer, Brianna Rogers, and Samuel Umphlett.

The creative team includes the professional staff from Flat Rock Playhouse with scenic design by Christopher Fitzer, costume design by Ellen Iroff, lighting design by Nick Kunstle, sound design by Matt Foster and properties and set dressing by Paul Feraldi. The production will also receive assistance from YouTheatre students Sarah Hart as stage manager, Caroline Penny as assistant stage manager and technical support from Amelia Allen, Mia Augustine, Liberty Ingle and Liz Morgan.

The play is performed at the National Guard Armory, located at 2025 Spartanburg Hwy, Hendersonville, NC 28792. Executive Producer Agudas Israel Synagogue will present a special benefit performance on Wednesday, November 7 at 7pm. This special showing is to benefit Agudas Israel Congregation's purchase and installation on a new sound system so that their hearing-impaired members and guests can fully enjoy participate in all Agudas Israel services and programming. Patrons interested in attending this benefit performance can contact Agudas Israel at (828) 693-9838.

YouTheatre will also present special morning performances for school and home school groups. Tickets to the regular performances are $18 for adults and $10 for students and children. For more information, contact the Playhouse box office (828) 693-0731; toll-free (866) 732-8008; www.flatrockplayhouse.org.