I hope you had a beautiful Easter. I did extent mine for a week. It was a little extra I offered myself. Cause I’m worth it (L’oreal-like). I like religious holidays. Ok I like holidays in general, but I like religious ones too. Cause I like religions. All religions. I like any system that gives people hope, strength, an outlook to life. There are times in life that we need this sort of help. We turn to our faith, to anything we believe in to find answers, to form explanations and to draw support for what we are going through. And that works for me, if that works for you. Anything that works for you. The spectrum can go from religions to science to cult and back.
That’s why I am very intrigued by the Blue Butterfly play coming up. The story is complex and real, as human nature itself. It is modern and eternal, as the realities we live in. Many of us will find therein parts of our lives, our behaviors, our practices, our challenges, our fears, our hopes. A young family. A dysfunctional one, like all real families. Parents with demanding careers, like all of us. An abnormal child, in a world of only normal children? People who seek the truth, the cause, the approach with modern ways like the internet and Tedx. A grandmother whose mystical beliefs are more intriguing to the child than the systems of the parents. And all this blends into what the authors call a crisis. A state not that unknown to all of us, right? And it is at that point that each one of us questions our own beliefs and it is at that point that the ground is fertile to explore new ones.
I am excited to have this play in our city. I want to share their journey and allow myself to doubt and re-examine the values and habits that define my own universe. You can find more about the play at the below page. Even more you can understand more about this amazing play through the interview with the people behind it.
What inspired you to write this play? Is it based on a real story?
On one hand, our play was directly inspired by scientific research happening right now on the campuses of the University of Lausanne, the EPFL and the University of Geneva. Beyond this, the central characters and conflicts are inspired by friction between family and ambition. Importantly, the mythology of the changeling (a fairy child exchanged for a human child) drove the development of Pearl’s story.
Who is this play for? Who should come to see it?
The play is for the people of Switzerland, especially the Anglophone and Francophone communities, who are interested in a multi-layered story that mixes scientific observations with mythological beliefs and family tragedy. I recommend it to anyone who has studied science, or had children and grandchildren, or remembers what it was like to be a misfit child with dangerous ideas.
Is this play appropriate for children?
After some thought we agreed that is is appropriate for age 13+, just to be safe. There are a couple of curse words and some implied violence. Some people may find some of the medical imagery disturbing, but there is nothing horrific.
Why Blue butterfly as the title? Can you tell or you will give away something from the play that we have to discover ourselves?
The Blue Butterfly is shorthand for the Large Blue Butterfly, the scientific name for a genus of butterfly usually called Maculinea. The parasitic life cycle of this butterfly among the Myrmica ants is at the center of the plot.
What is a crisis for you?
A crisis is when we are forced to choose between two options that are not rationally separable in their consequences. Or when the banks fail.
What are your views on religions?
My personal view on religion isn’t really pertinent to this work of art, but I will say that I was raised Catholic in the midwestern United States, and my experiences were mostly happy. I have since decided that I can’t adhere to the beliefs of that tradition. Religious belief is a human element that can generate both beauty and horror for the world.
What is normal and what is abnormal for you? You used the work “abnormal” in your plot description.
That’s interesting to consider, since we used the word to refer to Pearl, the child whose tragedy drives the story. I think the viewers of the play will realize very quickly why we refer to her as abnormal. Normal means “average” to me, as in near the center of the bell curve. Abnormal is an outlier. Pearl is both abnormally brilliant and abnormally antisocial.
Dysfunctional families. A norm or a deviation?
All families are dysfunctional as far as I can tell, it matters how people deal with that fact whether the family can hold together or fall apart. Of course there are cases where mental illness requires professional help.
Will we cry or laugh during your play?
Both. Though at the end of rehearsals I am more likely to be crying.
How does success look like for you in terms of what you want people to take out from your play?
There are many types of success in this context, as it is a multi-layered story. I’m sure there are people who would appreciate this story in ways I haven’t imagined. I would like people to care about the characters in our story and empathize with their struggles. As a scientist, I would like non-specialists to learn something of the scientific content we have incorporated into the drama. I would also like viewers to see how careful observations of natural phenomena can help us learn about ourselves. I would like scientists to acknowledge the importance of myth and legend in the subconscious.
If your play was a song, which one would it be?
“The Pied Piper” made famous by Crispian St. Peters.
Which is your own favorite play?
“An Enemy of the People” by Ibsen.
Have you written any other plays?
Our writer, Richard Crane, has written dozens of play performed around the world, from London’s West End to Palestine. I had written none before this collaboration.
If we are a good audience, will you come back with more?