CAT presents Butterflies Are Free

Central Alberta Theatre is launching into a new season with the well-known production Butterflies Are Free, opening Sept. 26 in the Memorial Centre’s Nickel Studio.

Curtain is 7:30 p.m. with additional shows through to Oct. 12. There is also a matinee on Sept. 29 at 2 p.m.

The 1960s romantic comedy Butterflies Are Free is the story of a young man, Don Baker, blind from birth, who is trying to experience life on his own much to his over-protective mother’s chagrin. The flirty, flighty hippy girl in the next apartment (Jill) adds both the love and comedy interest.

Butterflies Are Free was a 1972 film based on the play by Leonard Gershe, which had made its debut in 1969. The film, directed by Milton Katselas, was adapted for the screen by Gershe.

“It didn’t have a long theatre life before it was eclipsed by the movie,” explains director Tanya Ryga, an instructor at Red Deer College and a gifted actor in her own right. Although there is much humour in the script, there is pain as well, she said. “It’s both funny/painful, and painfully funny.”

Goldie Hawn and Edward Albert starred in the film’s central roles, and Eileen Heckart received an Academy Award for her performance as Mrs. Baker. And while the original play was set in Manhattan, the screenplay written for the film was set in San Francisco.

The cast in CAT’s adaptation features Jordan Galloway as Don, Nicole Leal as Jill, Barbara Adams as Mrs. Baker and Dylan Hopkins as Ralph Austin, a theatre director.

For Ryga, delving into the world of the late 1960s was a joy on every front, from the finding the unique fashions of the time to exploring the music. It was a turbulent time socially, but in many ways there are striking similarities to today.

But it’s a relatable play as well, with those universal themes of love, family, letting kids go and finding one’s way in the world. Don Baker hails from a wealthy suburb so it’s incredibly tough for his mom to see her son leave that kind of stability and security for an apartment in a gritty part of the city. But Don is longing for independence – in spite of his blindness.

“Mothers and fathers can be overprotective, worried or concerned, but that’s just love in another form. They’re learning how to let go – hence the ‘butterflies’ motif,” said Ryga. “Everyone is learning to let go in this play.”

Mrs. Baker eventually drops in and is horrified to see his apartment, but he loves it and is finding his way in his new surroundings – along with Jill, who is trying to break into the acting scene.

Don and Jill really couldn’t be more different, but end up forging a close relationship.

“It is the story of their love, their relationship and how they affect each other. She sees in him such great strength, and begins to get over a fear of boundaries. And he starts to let loose a little bit, understand his and understand that life is going to be really, really hard for him. He might embrace his blindness, but the world isn’t ready yet.

“It’s also about the clash of values, the clash of age – a tempest of people trying to get what they need in a world gone mad – the late 1960s was a mad world. And the young people often bear the brunt of how to deal with it all.

“But ultimately, this play is about family; it’s about falling in love and leaving the nest.”

For tickets and more information, call the Black Knight Inn at 403-755-6626 or visit

Just Posted

Alberta’s Pascale Paradis earns bronze in 7.5 km Female Biathlon

Canada Games action carries through to March 2nd

Alberta earns three medals in Long Track Speed Skating

Alberta now has 16 medals (6-5-5) and currently sits in second place of the medal standings

Calgary singer Shaye Zadravec gearing up for City appearance

Talented songstress to open for Latin guitarist Oscar Lopez Feb. 22nd

Team Alberta takes exciting victory in wheelchair basketball, remains undefeated

After three games in the tournament, Alberta is sitting in first place of its pool

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Crude-by-rail shipments set new record in December despite lower price discounts

Canada exported nearly 354,000 barrels per day of oil, up seven per cent from November

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

Maskwacis woman dead, Wetaskiwin man charged with murder

RCMP Major Crimes Unit charge male with first degree murder

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

Tears, flowers at impromptu memorial for Syrian children killed in Halifax fire

The family had only lived in the Quartz Drive home for a few months

NDP candidates push for stronger climate action as Singh supports LNG Canada

Singh has tried to project unity in the party while facing internal criticism for poor fundraising and low support in the polls

Most Read