By: Grace Greene ’17
The Cheshire Academy Varsity Players production of Once On This Island ran for the first time this past Friday at 7:00 pm in the Black Box Theatre. The show was sold out and a waiting list had been accrued. Only two more showings—one the following night and the other, Sunday afternoon—would be held. The theatre was packed with the family and friends of the over fifty people involved in this season’s production.
With Ms. Guarino, the show’s director, presiding over the theatre in the back row with iPad in hand, the lights dimmed and the show began. The musical was an adaptation of Rosa Guy’s My Love, My Love, a Caribbean retelling of The Little Mermaid.
The plot centered around the fantastic journey of Ti Moune, a peasant girl, who travels to a big city to tend to a rich man that she nursed back to health and grew to love even though they had never spoken. Ti Moune, played by sophomore Julia Rafferty, is helped on this journey by four gods who control the island and its inhabitants.
The play follows her throughout this bittersweet journey and the consequent interactions with Daniel, her big city beau played by Ryan Kim ‘17, showing the transition of this superstitious girl into a young woman taking her fate into her own hands. The musical showcased the love between a family when all else fails. Tear-jerking but satisfying, the ending left many hesitantly uplifted.
The music was clearly influenced by its Caribbean storyline and its lyrics instantly catchy. Snippets of pieces heard at Morning Meeting or from the mouths of excited performers all came together as the live pit band melded well with efforts of the tech and stage crews to form a coherent and captivating picture.
Ms. Guarino in her Director’s Note says she is, “grateful for this drama community, and [she] is certain that the memories created over the last four months ‘will always be a part of us.’” As she is grateful for them, the entire community is grateful for the entire department and their performance that only months of dedication and hard work could have pulled off.
This performance also showcased the skills of many talented seniors who gave their last performances in an Academy musical that weekend. Special recognition goes to these performers whose contributions are sure to be missed. They are William An, AnnaRose Goldwitz, Jacob Korman, Charlotte Leser, Dylan Miko, Anna Rosen, Rachel Wallace, and Angelina Zhang.