Theatre UCF will present the play “Trevor” from Nov. 13 to 23 in the UCF Black Box. This will be the first time the play has been performed at the collegiate level.

Written by Nick Jones, “Trevor” was inspired by the 2009 attack of a woman by her friend’s pet chimpanzee and takes a look at the unique relationship between people and their exotic pets.

Director Christopher Niess said the play “is a pleasurable way to examine a different perspective on animal rights and the way that humans tend to project their values on animals and objectify them.”

“I’ve spent a lot of time considering the relationship between the characters,” said student Colton Butcher, who is playing the chimpanzee in the title role. “Trevor is trying to communicate with people, but he can’t because of the language barrier. And it’s not just that Trevor doesn’t understand what people are saying, but he’s also ignoring any hints that might show him what’s really going on.”

Butcher says that the role has made him more aware of the effects that captivity can have on chimpanzees. As part of his research for the role, he visited the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula. The center is not generally open to the public, but they let him visit so that he could learn how to convey a more realistic version of how a chimpanzee in captivity might behave.

“Researching this role has made me more aware of how the entertainment industry used animals,” Butcher said. “We are fortunate now that with technology, the need for animals in entertainment is less. We can have a movie full of apes and never need to use a live animal.”

Theatre UCF will be collecting money and items as donations for the Center for Great Apes for the duration of the run. There will also be a preshow discussion with animal handlers from the center and director Christopher Niess at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 21.

Production at a glance:


by Nick Jones

Directed by Christopher Niess

A play about fame, success, and the lies we tell ourselves in order to keep people from taking away our erratic, 200-pound chimpanzee.

Trevor is a chimpanzee who once performed with the likes of Morgan Fairchild. Now, he’s approaching puberty and can’t even get a callback. Is it because he’s big and strong and potentially dangerous? Or does he just need better costumes? Trevor lives alone with a Sandra, a middle-aged widow. Sandra knows Trevor would never hurt anyone, at least not on purpose. And just because he’s not “cute” like he used to be, she won’t send him to some dirty sanctuary, at least not to appease her paranoid neighbor Ashley and her precious newborn baby.

Theatre UCF and the UCF Anthropology Club, Hominids Anonymous, will be collecting donations for the Center for Great Apes. Please bring items from the Center’s wish list with you to the performance. The complete list of needed items is at:  Monetary donations will also be accepted.

Nov. 13, 14*, 15, 20, 21, 22* at 8 pm (Preshow discussion on Friday, Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m.)

Nov. 16, 23 at 2 p.m.

$20 standard, $18 senior, $10 student

Black Box, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando


* Performances on 11/14, and 11/22 coincide with a UCF home football game. You will need to allow extra time to get to the theater for this performance. Please note that the parking location during home games is different from the regular parking location. Theatre patrons should park in Lot B4. Golf cart shuttles will meet you at parking lot B-4 to take you to the theater. Patrons who park anywhere else on campus will receive a parking ticket.