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2 characters, flexible casting. Approximately 5 minutes long. Comedy about two monarch butterflies, migration, and expectations.

It’s time for Monarchs to migrate north, but what if Sid doesn’t want to go? Hank reminds him of the rules of nature and tradition. This short comedy plays with the ideas of bias, judgment, and expectations. It’s also a fun way to introduce the science of butterfly migration. Originally written during the pandemic to be performed online, this play is great fun to perform on stage. The clear objectives and tactics also make this a great choice for scene study.

About the Playwright

Nelson Sheely is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama. He has spent the last 50 years in professional theatre, acting in and directing plays, musicals, and operas. He has written 8 full-length plays, two one-acts, and numerous 10-minute plays. He has also translated the works of Feydeau, Marivaux, and Offenbach from the French. He is currently an adjunct professor of theatre at Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio.

HANK – A Monarch butterfly
SID – A Monarch butterfly

Two Monarch butterflies are on stage or each with their own screen if performing online. Sid is snoozing in his chair wearing a sun hat, sunglasses, and a Hawaiian shirt. Hank is dressed to travel.


(waking) Huh? What?

What the heck are you doing? Get up! It’s time to go.

Oh, hey Hank, my brother, ‘sup?

‘Sup? ‘Sup?? Half of the swarm, that’s what’s up. They’re not just up, they’re gone! They left yesterday and the rest of us are scheduled to leave at sunset today and look at you – you’re not vaguely ready to go anywhere.

That’s because I’m not going to.

You’re not going to what?

I’m not going to leave.

Of course, you are.

Yeah? Who says? You?

It’s not me, it’s the rules – it’s nature – it’s tradition. My parents did it, my grandparents did it, and Monarchs as long as anyone can remember did it. It’s what we do.

So what?

It’s a matter of pride.

There’s the verb….or the noun…or whatever – pride. So you’re flying what, 3,000 miles or so because of pride?

We’re Monarch butterflies – Monarchs – the name says it all. We’re not moths, for Godsake! We have a reputation to uphold! Monarchs forever!

(Gives a salute – thumbs hooked and hands flapping like wings)

Chill, man. You’re getting your wings all in a flap – save your energy, you’re going to need it – you’ve got a looonngg flight ahead of you. Me? Not so much.

(Holds a sunflower with a straw sticking out of it up)

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