A glittering show surpasses expectations

A+beautiful+display+of+dancing+skill+and+vocal+power+thrilled+audiences+at+ASD%27s++theater+in+October.
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A glittering show surpasses expectations

A beautiful display of dancing skill and vocal power thrilled audiences at ASD's  theater in October.

A beautiful display of dancing skill and vocal power thrilled audiences at ASD's theater in October.

Photographer: Mackenzie Wheatley

A beautiful display of dancing skill and vocal power thrilled audiences at ASD's theater in October.

Photographer: Mackenzie Wheatley

Photographer: Mackenzie Wheatley

A beautiful display of dancing skill and vocal power thrilled audiences at ASD's theater in October.

Ava F., Arts Section Editor

The ASD high school musical “Once on This Island,” with performances that took place mid-October, wholly exceeded expectations with brilliantly performed numbers chock-full of energy and colorful swirling skirts dominating the stage.

The performance opened with a spirited performance of “We Dance,” drawing smiles from the audience as the people of the fictitious Antilles island twirled on stage, singing of their struggles. At the end of it all, however, they danced to cope with their difficulties and woes.

A. Sadig (‘19) gave a tender performance as the sweet and guileless Ti Moune, the main character who has a longing for something more than the little world her poverty-ridden parents could provide. Her wish comes full-circle, as the gods debate the power of love over death, and fate causes the wealthy Daniel Beauxhomme, well-played by K. Wheatley (‘20), to crash his car on her side of the island.

As the captivating plot progressed, various musical numbers performed by the four gods of the island with the strong support of the ensemble were portrayed on stage with breathtaking vibrancy. The first god to perform his song was Agwe, God of Water in “Rain,” as he called forth a storm to crash Beauxhomme’s car. Agwe was played by E. Pyne (‘19), an experienced ASD actor who gave exactly the right amount of intensity to the role. The thunderous sound effects and shuddering lights, compliments of the talented crew, truly made the number an enthralling affair.

Shortly after that piece, the musical number “Pray” followed. The people of the poor side of the island prayed for the health of Daniel, the mercy of the gods, and the safety of Tonton Julien, played by D. Crook (’19), Ti Moune’s adoptive father, as he went off to the wealthy side of the island to tell the grand hommes of Daniel’s  condition. The incredible performance sent goosebumps down audience arms as vivid choreography by J. Scott (‘20) accompanied by the passionate vocals of the ensemble, especially those of the talented M. Genetti (‘20) as Mama Euralie, made for a potent combination of talents.

Soon enough, Daniel is whisked away back to his side of the island, leaving Ti Moune alone and heartbroken as she had fallen in love with the grand homme. In her distress, Ti Moune decides to venture to the wealthy side of the island to see him again. As she makes her way around, a number called “Mama Will Provide,” performed by the third god, Mother of Earth, Asaka, takes place. M. Abid (‘21), the actress behind Asaka, boasted of incredible vocals and a lively demeanor that brought some flair to the role. That flair was accentuated by her colorful wardrobe and glittering make-up, again calling for kudos to the crew.

As Daniel and Ti Moune are lovingly united, a heart-wrenching number by Erzulie, Goddess of Love, is performed. Erzulie was rendered elegantly by A. Irawan (‘19), and her performance of “The Human Heart” undoubtedly left every member of the audience a little misty-eyed and certainly in awe of her polished stage presence and exquisite voice.

Later, it is gradually revealed that Daniel is engaged to another woman of the wealthy side of the island through his soulful “Some Girls.” K. Wheatley (‘20) pulled this piece off with a gentle voice as he sang of his character’s indecision and heartache. Though he loved Ti Moune, he had pledged himself to Andrea Deveraux.

As the impossibility of their love is realized by Ti Moune after Daniel and Andrea’s wedding, the god of death, Papa Ge, played by L. Pocklington (‘19), takes advantage of her despair in “Forever Yours (reprise)”, to have a captivating vocal battle with Erzulie, Goddess of Love, in a final challenge between love and death. L. Pocklington (’19) depicted her role convincingly with fittingly intimidating attire and incredible vehemence in her acting.

In the musical, Ti Moune is offered her life in exchange for Daniel’s. If she kills him, the man who betrayed her love for a wealthy woman, Papa Ge will allow her to keep her own life. Ti Moune hesitates, and then takes the weapon given to her. She attempts to kill her one true love; however, she finds she cannot bring herself to do it and drops the knife just before she is about to deliver the blow. Daniel discovers her attempted murder, and in his shock, casts her from his side of the island.

Ti Moune dies, and stellar acting from Sadig left the audience echoing her grief. To add to the poignant heartbreak, Mama Euralie again makes an appearance, and she discovers Ti Moune. Genetti’s broken cry of anguish as she fell to her knees sealed the deal, and the stunned audience found their tears quick to flow.

In a beautiful finale, the gods take pity on Ti Moune, and they will her into a beautiful tree that cracks the gate that separates the island in two, thereby uniting them all under her sprawling branches. The final number, “Why We Tell The Story,” was a sparkling song of lively dance and bittersweet smiles.

The cast sang of the importance of telling the story of Ti Moune, because every story, whether it be of pain or love, is a tale of life. And life’s trials and joys connect all people, no matter what side of the island they live on. We are all united by the stories that we tell.

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