BOYS IN HEELS | The adventures of the Theater Department with “The Love of Don Perlimplin”

A world of dreams and men in high heels is coming to Butler University in the theater production of “The Love of Don Perlimplin for Belisa in the Garden” this weekend.

The final mainstage play this year was written by the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca.  The play follows the story of  Don Perlimplin, a reserved bookworm, and his love for the thrill-seeking Belisa.

Senior theater and Spanish major Daniel Barnes plays the main character, Don Perlimplin, in the  production.  Even as a seasoned Butler theater department actor, Barnes said that this character is particularly difficult to portray.

“It’s a really hard role,” Barnes said. “The show is only about an hour, so I have a minute and a half to fall in love with this girl and a half hour to complete his entire journey.”

Associate professor of theater Elaina Artemiev is directing the show and has incorporated some of Lorca’s Spanish flair into the production.  The play will feature some of Lorca’s poetry in his native Spanish tongue.  As a Spanish major, Barnes said he is up for the challenge.

“The Spanish poetry is so flowery and beautiful,” Barnes said. “It fits well in the play, so it was a good choice to add it.  People won’t need to understand Spanish to appreciate it.”

In addition to intense character development, the play features extravagant costumes and scenery.  Barnes said he has embraced his feminine side to become Don Perlimpin.

“I’m wearing heels,” Barnes said. “Yes, heels.  Obviously I’ve never worn them before, so I definitely had to practice walking in them.  The costumes are very unique.  At one point, I have horns as well.”

Madeline Carey, a sophomore arts administration and theater major, is the stage manager. She said she has monitored costumes and design throughout the whole production.  The setting of the play is what gives it character.

“Everything is very dreamlike, but it’s not supposed to be reality,” Carey said. “It’s set in an illogical dream land where nothing has rules or makes sense.”

As stage manager, Carey said she facilitates the logistics of the show and makes sure the production runs smoothly. Butler’s mainstage performances offer students of all years in the theater department the opportunity to experience play production.

“The faculty have played an important part in the process by directing and designing, but the students really have to dip their toes in everything, especially in a small cast of six people for ‘Don Perlimplin,’” Carey said.

Freshman theatre major Elysia Rohn said she is also reaping the benefits of a small-casted show.

“This is my first bigger role here at Butler, so it’s nice to come into it with a cast that’s pretty much like a family,” Rohn said.

“Don Perlimplin” will be open to the public on April 13-14 and 19-21 at 8 p.m. and April 15 and 22 at 2 p.m. in Lilly Hall Studio Theatre 168.  Tickets can be bought on the Butler Theatre website for $10 for the public and $5 for students.