The Butterflies Are Free
The hippie generation made its mark on everything from tie dye t-shirts to modern culture. The peace and free love mantra they professed is being showcased again in Barksdale Theatre at Hanover Tavern's production of The Butterflies are Free.
The bohemian style play takes you into the life of Don Baker, a young blind man who is trying to test his independence by living alone in a studio apartment in New York. A month into his new life he meets his next door neighbor, Jill Tanner, a free-spirited 19-year-old who shies away from any type of commitment. All of the action takes place within a 24-hour period. The first act is lighthearted, a cat-and-mouse sexual sparring between Don and Jill that comes to an abrupt halt when Don’s over-protective mother unexpectedly pops in for a visit.
The second act takes a more serious look at all of the relationships on stage. Don’s blindness may be viewed as a disability, but it becomes evident that he’s not the only one in this triangle that is impaired in some fashion.
Jennifer Martin brings energy to her role as the immature sexually-charged Jill Tanner. She bounces around the stage clothed and half-clothed with confidence and personality. With that said, there are times in the play when she doesn’t full capture the scatterbrained – think Goldie Hawn in Laugh-In – side of the character.
Matthew Bloch is especially touching as the blind Don Baker. He plays the character with compassion and realism, never over-stepping his boundaries with the disability. He aptly portrays the tender of Don, who longs for female companionship, as well as the frustration he feels toward his over-bearing mother.
Tamara Johnson takes on Florence Baker’s acerbic personality with gusto. Her biting comments are delivered with precision and finesse. She is just as convincing when Florence realizes she has to accept her son’s independence. Terry Powers and David Powers have once again created a realistic set that really speaks to the heart of the play. The set is complimented by the lighting of Jay Kniffen.
Butterflies Are Free is an entertaining, playful, boy-meets-girl show that also delivers a couple of thoughtful messages about self-sufficiency. Butterflies Are Free runs through May 14th at Barksdale Theatre at Hanover Tavern.
For V for Women and JoanTupponce.com, this is Joan, with One Woman’s View.