Wakefield High School Once On This IslandBy Cappies • May 22nd, 2011 • Category: Cappies
In Creole they’d say “Byenveni nan zile.” Welcome to their humble island of Wakefield High School, where shoes hold little importance, male chests are bared, and skirts have a tendency to fly and flounce with minds of their own.
Based on the novel “My Love, My Love” by Rosa Guy, Once On This Island (story and lyrics written by Lynn Ahrens and music composed by Stephen Flaherty) tells the tale of beautiful, lively Ti Moune, who follows the destiny set before her by the gods, fighting the will of her parents and determined to save the life of Monsieur Daniel Beauxhomme. First debuting off-Broadway’s at Playwrights Horizons in 1990, the musical went on to open on Broadway a few months later. The show closed after 469 performances only to re-open in 1994 in Europe.
As a little girl cries in the middle of a storm, storytellers surround her, painting a tale to calm the poor child, an island emerges. Choreographers Sloane Mebane and Alexa Moore successfully captured a “tribal” beauty in the movement of the dancers as the cast wholeheartedly dedicated itself to expressive movement. Alexa Moore’s delightful, untamed dance narration of “Human Heart” captured the bittersweet love lesson goddess Erzulie (Delia Penalva) teaches Ti Moune.
Lintle Motsoasele’s compelling grace as sweet, obstinate Ti Moune resulted in a heart wrenching performance as the young woman’s cheeks glistened with tears as she fought to keep the one thing that mattered most to her; Daniel. The vivacity and earnestness with which she performed allowed for a powerful and poignant narrative of love, loss, regret, and hope.
With clear voices, committed characterizations, and full-blown energy, Gods Asaka, Agwe, Erzulie, and Papa Ge (Jamé Jackson, Jhonny Maldonado, Delia Penalva, Dylan Everett) worked well off one another. Their strong cohesion added an extra level to the performance as the gods quarreled amongst themselves over the destiny of young Ti Moune.
Though there were microphone glitches at times, and some lighting choices were questionable, the stage crew was barely discernible as their island outfits made them appear to be simply part of the show.
When the dancing silhouettes of the four gods suddenly come to rest on their elevated platform, the show draws to an end, but the wild dancing commences once again- leaving the audience member with no greater desire than to jump onstage and boogie into the Haitian night.
by Jillian Luoma-Overstreet of Washington-Lee High School
Photos by Christine Armstrong
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/6843.