“My Boy Jack was a World War One play based on a true story, and I had to play a soldier who had PTSD. I don't have any problems with character development, I don't have any problems with remembering lines, but researching the background to create that character was the most difficult thing,” said Butler.
He watched countless hours of historical archive footage and interviews and even learned an Irish accent for the role.
“I was only in two parts of the play — one set in the war and one set after the war – and I was the only surviving member of my troop and I had to return to one of the homesteads of the main character and tell his parents what happened to him,” explained Butler.
“It was pretty much 15 solid minutes onstage of me having a complete breakdown and it was the most difficult thing I've ever had to do, to maintain that for an audience who were used to seeing me dressed as a woman or falling down to make them laugh.”
Tuesdays With Morrie, which is about a man who is suffering from ALS and his student/friend, was a recent two-person performance that Butler said was incredibly rewarding.
“We've all dealt with some illness in our families, but I've never actually had to work through it in an hour-and-a-half in front of an audience, going from the process of knowing my teacher, through learning about his illness, through watching him die in my arms,” he said of the show.
Butler generally performs with Centre Stage Theatre in Kentville or Edalene Theatre in Wolfville, however, he also performs with Quick As A Wink Theatre in Windsor, participates in Valley Ghost Walks, and signs on for other projects that interest him.
This scene from Quick As A Wink's production of Rumours shows Len Ganz (Wolfville's Mike Butler) pretending to be Charley Brock, the owner of the house, as he explains the crazy events of the night to Officer Connie Pudney (Karen Court). His wife, Claire Ganz (Linda Levy-Fisk), listens intently.