In the HSU production, veteran local actor Lincoln Mitchell plays Rene Gallimard. HSU student Kyle Ryan plays Song Liling. “Kyle is a dancer as well as an actor,” said director Thomas, “and he moves beautifully, which is very important in this role.”
Situations are complicated further by the wife that Gallimard is deceiving (Helga, played by Chelsea Snyder) and later by the mistress who fulfills a different sexual fantasy (Renee, played by Eva Rismanforoush.) Comrade Chin (Denise Truong) plays a secret but decisive role in the unfolding international drama, while Marc (Matt Kirchberg) is Gallimard’s bureaucratic boss. International politics as well as personal fantasies mean that both Gallimard and Song Liling have reasons to keep the illusion alive.
Michael Thomas, a director, actor, teacher and Managing Artistic Director of the North Coast Repertory Theatre, proposed M. Butterfly for his directorial debut at HSU. “It’s beautifully constructed with short scenes that flow into each other. There’s humor, too. This play has so many layers.”
M. Butterfly also presents entertainment for the senses. “There’s some music from Madame Butterfly, and some dancing from Chinese opera,” Thomas said. “Because of the setting that’s enhanced by Gallimard’s fantasies, we want to create some beautiful images on stage.”