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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

New theater group combines live action, multi-media

Cast members work on a current production at The Butterfly Connection, a new theater whose participants enhance the production through multi-media. The theater was founded by a former TCC student.  Photo courtesy Adam Dietrich
Cast members work on a current production at The Butterfly Connection, a new theater whose participants enhance the production through multi-media. The theater was founded by a former TCC student. Photo courtesy Adam Dietrich

By Ashley Cole/reporter

Cast members work on a current production at The Butterfly Connection, a new theater whose participants enhance the production through multi-media. The theater was founded by a former TCC student.  Photo courtesy Adam Dietrich
Cast members work on a current production at The Butterfly Connection, a new theater whose participants enhance the production through multi-media. The theater was founded by a former TCC student. Photo courtesy Adam Dietrich

A Fort Worth company is changing the face of theater through multi-media.
The Butterfly Connection, a multi-arts collaborative organization, finds new ways to enhance the theater experience.

The Butterfly Connection was founded by Adam Justin Dietrich, former TCC student, in 2002.

After he was forbidden to do an adaptation of a play at a contest, he searched for a creative outlet.

Dietrich began producing music festivals at TCC and decided to start his own theater company. He wanted to put a new spin on the theater experience.

“ The theater our generation recognizes is somewhat pretentious. You go to a show and sit down. You know when to laugh or when to clap. We wanted to create something new. We don’t want to do the same shows all the time,” he said. “The Butterfly Connection looks to reinvent things that are set in stone.”

Along with current TCC student Joshua Reeves, Dietrich created an adaptation of the timeless classic The Wizard of Oz.

His adaptation combined the traditional elements of theater with a twist. He used multi-media elements such as computer visuals, puppetry and digital animation.

“ There are a lot of video works,” Reeves said. “We work with film-makers, live musicians, local artists and object manipulators to create a new experience.”

Dietrich said, “We want people to have an influx of activity at all times. We want people to look for an experience that identifies with our experience: a little unconventional, a little dangerous.”

The company often gets its audience involved in the performances by having actors interact with spectators.

“ For one of our performances, we had our actors really get into the character of the homeless. We made them take capsules that made their breaths smell of alcohol. We tried to make our audience feel like the actors were really homeless,” Dietrich said.

Haven Cartwright, company member and former TCC student, said, “We want to build a complete experience—one that appeals to all the senses.”

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a success, and the company now has several members, many current and former TCC students.

Although there are many companies exploring the multi-media genre, The Butterfly Connection is the only group of its kind in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

“ We are setting the ground floor for 20 years from now. We don’t want people to think ‘This is cool; this is stupid,’” Dietrich said. “We want them to think, ‘it just is.’”

The Butterfly Connection reached non-profit status in 2006 and found some difficulties.

“ Our biggest difficulty is trying to communicate who we are to the community. It’s hard to find a niche for the company to fall under,” Dietrich said.

But the Butterfly Connection’s efforts have not gone unrewarded.

It recently received a grant from the Arts Council of Fort Worth and plans to use the money to publicize the company and help the community.

“ We plan to use the grant to sponsor a college scavenger hunt. We want it to be like The Amazing Race,” Dietrich said.

“ The grand prize will be a trip to the music festival Bonnaroo in Tennessee, and two free tattoos to commemorate the opportunity,” he said.

Cartwright said, “Bonnaroo is one of the coolest music festivals. Artists like The Police, Damien Rice, Ben Harper and Tool will all be there. It’s a really amazing contest.”

The Butterfly Connection will also use the grant money to set up a video competition for area high school students and a script-writing contest for elementary school students.

“ For the script-writing contest, we will have a link on our Web site that students can access and write a real script, using a professional program,” Dietrich said.

The Butterfly Connection’s next production is the show that started it all, The Wizard of Oz. It runs April 13-22 in the East Fort Worth Montessori Academy. For tickets, call 817-333-4028.

For more information about The Butterfly Connection, visit its Web site at www.thebutterflyconnection.org or its MySpace location at www.myspace.com/thebutterflyconnection.

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