INSIDE THE GREENHOUSE | Re-telling climate change stories

The Butterfly Affect OSMP Performance Recap

A performance of The Butterfly Affect occurred on July 8th, 2023 as an art hike for Boulder Open Space Mountain Parks (OSMP) where particip

A performance of The Butterfly Affect occurred on July 8th, 2023 as an art hike for Boulder Open Space Mountain Parks (OSMP) where participants had embodied experiences proceeding slowly through the four stages of a butterfly’s metamorphosis. This project was co-facilitated by Beth Osnes (CU Professor of Theatre and Environmental Studies), Sarah Fahmy (FSU Assistant Professor of Theatre), Leela Stoede (student at Saint Andrews University), and Lerato Osnes (student at Metro State University), in partnership with Juanita Echeverri (Coordinator for Outreach and Engagement with OSMP).

This performance was an invitation for the Boulder community to ecologically consider their yearnings for an equitable, survivable, and thrive-able future through embodying the stages of a butterfly’s metamorphosis. Three people entered the 30-minute experience at a time and were led by a guide through a journey from an egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly, each as one of three different butterfly species, a Monarch, a Blue Morpho, or a Wester Tiger Swallowtail. Participants moved along from one stage of development to the next costumed for each stage and guided through an embodiment and thoughtful reflection of the transformation. As they progressed, they were prompted to imagine how this change can emerge, materialize, and ultimately take flight in themselves, their community, and the world. An egg, a caterpillar, chrysalis, and a butterfly are all created of the same matter yet are capable of remarkable change from one iteration to the next. This performance experience is designed to impress upon participants that they have within them all that we need to be the change we yearn for right now. For homo sapiens who seek to transition from our current status quo to a radically different one that is equitable, survivable, and thrive-able, humbly tracing the steps of a butterfly’s transformation can enrich this co-becoming. Material explorations can be a way to think through the body as a process of interspecies exchange as an embodied encounter. This performance experience is designed to be a nurturing invitation to reflect, dream, and imagine.  


At the beginning of this journey, participants gave their guide their phone to document their process of this metamorphosis. Throughout the experience, participants encounter various forms of art-science imagery, sounds, and text shared with them by their guide along this journey, such as the science of each stage of metamorphosis and creative prompts for imagined becomings. Afterwards, each participant was invited to post photos and/or video and commentary on the insights and inspiration that emerged from their experience on a web platform for this project,, a curated space for sharing what emerges from the experience for each participant. This performance experience is designed to beckon embodied ways of knowing to guide the restructuring and reimagining of our beloved community and world.

The design for this transformative performance experience is inspired in part by a quote by adrienne maree brown from a podcast, On Being, “Nature is a teacher. We are part of nature. Anything that can happen out there can happen in us.”