Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

Summerville High School and the Connections Visual and Performing Arts Academy will present "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" today through Saturday.

Curtain times are 7 p.m. each day, with a matinee added at 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets for the evening showings are $10 general admission, $8 for students and senior citizens. Matinee tickets are $8 and $6 for students and seniors.

More than 15,000 Jewish children passed through the Terezin camp during World War II, and only about 100 were still alive when it was liberated at the end of the war. One of the survivors, Raja, having lived through it all, teaching the children when there was nothing to teach with, helping to give them hope when there was little reason for hope, creating a little world of laughter, of flowers and butterflies behind the barbed wire, tells the true story of the children there.

There were no butterflies at Terezin, but for the children, butterflies became a symbol of defiance, making it possible for them to live on and play happily while waiting to be transported. This play shows the best and the worst of which the human heart is capable.

During World War II the Gestapo used Terezin, better known by the German name Theresienstadt, as a ghetto. The majority of the Jews sent there were scholars, professionals, artists and musicians. Inmates were encouraged to lead creative lives, and concerts were even held. Parks, grassy areas and flower beds, concert venues and statues were installed to hide the truth - that most of the inmates were going to be killed.

Of the 144,000 Jews sent there, about 33,000 died from hunger and disease. About 88,000 were deported to Auschwitz and other extermination camps. At the end of the war, there were 17,247 survivors.

The cast includes Emily Fishburn as Raja Englanderova, along with Sam Hince, Sarah Gaulden, Laura Johnson, Gaige Stewart, Anna Wettengel, Kyrsta Morehouse, Mary Suess, Mia Primrose, Aiden O'Connell, Denny O'Shea, Jorum Ulmke, Arissa Jones, Kayla Rolfe, Whitney Stowe and Claire Schermeister.

Richard Kuebler directs, with choreography by Julia Jensen, makeup by Kyrsta Morehouse, set design by Jeff Gill, sound by Abby Stewart, lighting by Tom Mohler, costumes by Pam Moody and stage management by Catelin Moody.