‘Once On This Island’ to awaken Cabrini

By Britany Wright
March 26, 2009

Patrick McGowan

As winter comes to an end and spring awakens, many students, professors and faculty alike are dreaming of far away places much warmer than here.

This semester, Cabrini’s theater department is prepared to take audiences away to a warmer setting for free.

The cast and crew will present “Once On This Island” on March 26-29 and April 3-6.

“Once On This Island” is a one-act 90-minute musical based on the re-telling of the “Little Mermaid.”

This version is the musical representation of Hans Christian Andersen’s children’s story written by Rosa Guy in her book, “My Love, My Love.”

Far away from the balconies of “Romeo and Juliet,” this musical contains elements from Shakespeare’s romantic play.

“I love Hans Christian Andersen. Every story he wrote is moralistic. I think that the retelling of his tale in ‘Once On This Island’ is faithful to the story of Andersen,” Robert Iodice, technical director and chief facilities engineer, said.

The play is true to the style of Andersen, it opens with storytellers and a little girl who is being told the story of Ti Moune, a peasant girl who falls desperately in love with a boy named Daniel Beauxhomme, who is from another world.

Just like “Romeo and Juliet,” their love ends up being labeled as taboo.

Audience members will watch this love story unfold through the eyes of storytellers.

These storytellers are four gods who represent water, love, death, the mother of Earth and little Ti Moune.

Tickets are free to all students, faculty and staff in the Student Engagement and Activities Learning Center for the performances.

Doors open for seating half an hour before the show begins for all shows running on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and will begin promptly at 8 p.m.

Sundays will be a matinée show at 2 p.m.

Dr. Thomas Stretton, the director and education professor, and Dr. Adeline Bethany, music director and fine arts professor, have been gearing up for the show by spending countless hours working with students on the choreography, memorization and intonation.

“It’s interesting to see how well the [musical] pit and the cast grow together. The cast was more advanced than the pit [at the dress rehearsal], but it’s interesting to see how we can carry each other through this fantastic show of ‘Once on This Island,'” Rob Stoop, sophomore biology and chemistry major, said.

Behind the scenes, Iodice has supervised the stage crew in creating the perfect island get-a-way through lighting, set-building and ensuring that backstage operations run smoothly throughout the production.

Senior English and communication major Delta Benoit works behind the scenes in the properties department and as a member of the house for all productions.

The collaborative effort of the music, set design and costuming, in the words of Benoit whose family is from St. Lucia, the show really has a “dynamic Caribbean excitement about it.”

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Britany Wright

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