Made with and performed by 3 generations of a Glasgow family, the Watermans, Butterfly was an investigation of the public and the private, what we show and what we hide. It took the form of a large-scale family party, with a cash bar, a lovely spread and 250 mirror balls. As with Susan & Darren, audiences were as much guests at a party as they were spectators at a performance.
The Waterman family was recruited after a local publicity campaign. Gail Waterman picked up a leaflet in the local museum, and persuaded her sister Heather, her parents Robert and Patricia and her three children, Blair, Ellen and Lauren, to take part.
Butterfly looked at ideas around family and belonging, at the contradictions and complications of the relationships that none of us ask for, at the accident of being born into a set of people that we're stuck with for life. Like all good parties, secrets and laughs were spilled. We never promised it wouldn't end in tears.
Butterfly was Quarantine’s second commission from Tramway and was created during an 8-week residency in Glasgow.
“You get a sense that for everyone concerned, there are no safety nets. But neither [Richard] Gregory nor the Watermans seem to feel they need them. ‘I ask the questions, but if anything comes out through our conversations that they don't want to go into the show, then they can veto it,’ says Gregory. The family are fine with that. ‘I don't think that doing Butterfly has changed our relationships as a family,’ says Gail. ‘But it has made us more aware of each other as individuals.’
So, after 2 months of working on the project, is Gregory any closer to answering his question about what a family is? He laughs. ‘I was talking to an academic - a psychologist - about the piece and I was saying it was bizarre that all I can find that identifies what a family is, is genetics and familiarity with each other. He just looked at me and said, 'What more do you want?'"