Enopion Theatre’s ‘Petunia Butterby’ is story of hope

Easter season brings many messages. While Enopion Theatre’s newest production isn’t a typical Easter Passion play, it has a theme in common with Easter – one of hope.


Carol Rezzelle, the playwright, director and actor in The Life and Times of Petunia Butterby, wrote the play during a contemplative time in her life. Her mother was ill and needed full-time care.

“I started thinking about dying and death,” she said.

With her mother’s death in October, Rezzelle’s faith gave her comfort that they would be reunited one day in eternity. That hope is the message that resonates through the play, which debuts April 21 at the Kroc Center. Performances will be at 7 p.m. April 21 and April 28 and at 3 p.m. April 22 and 29.

The play begins with lead character Petunia Butterby in a retirement home. Played by Rezzelle, the character is in her 80s. Through a relationship with a young woman named Sally, Petunia recounts her life. The play features a series of flashbacks to bring Petunia’s life to the stage.

Petunia was left orphaned on the steps of the Butterby Convent in 1869 London, and the play features portions of her life raised by the nuns.

Margie Garner will make her Enopion debut as Sister Clara Mark. Garner has spent several seasons working as costumer.

“I’m enjoying it,” she said. “I’m playing someone my age. She’s one of those mothering types. It’s coming naturally.”

She and other nuns are there through critical times in Petunia’s life.

Unlike most of the other plays in Enopion’s repertoire, The Life and Times of Petunia Butterby isn’t a musical. Rezzelle said it seems to work better that way.

“I couldn’t seem to pull it in with music. The dialogue is heavy,” she said.

And the plot can be emotional, she said.

Tickets for The Life and Times of Petunia Butterby are $16 for adults, and $12 for children 12 years old and younger, senior citizens 65 years old and older and groups of 10 or more people.

For more information, call (706) 771-7777 or visit www.enopion.com.