Review: ‘Once On This Island’

By Annie Hart, Reporter

Students and staff from the Shenandoah Conservatory performed “Once On This Island” in Glaize Theatre on April 22-23. The show was an enchanting musical telling of the ancient tale of a young peasant girl fighting for love in a world where everyone she knows is against her.

This one-act musical told the story of TiMoune, a poor peasant girl living on an island; Daniel, the boy she loved from the rich side of the island; and their struggles.

TiMoune faced many obstacles, but the ones that stood out the most were the gods. Portrayed by a wide range of Shenandoah talents, the gods were brought to life through the use of colored lighting and added costume pieces.

Papa Ge, the demon of death, wore a hat decorated in bones and slunk in under a red light. Erzulie, Goddess of Love, was warmed with a pink light, wore a flowered headdress, and carried a magic fan. Agwe, the God of Water, basked under a blue light, carried a large staff, and was caped in a fishnet. Finally, Aska, the mother of the earth, danced under a green light and wore a green cape.

Through the use of these added lights and costume pieces, the gods could also portray the company by removing their adornments.

The use of transitions, much like the change from the gods to the company, was vastly important in the transformation of Little TiMoune into the grown up version. A brown cloth was swirled around Little TiMoune to reveal a grown-up TiMoune.

The audience was captivated by this transition and by the performance of Kamryn Burton, senior musical theatre major, as TiMoune.

Burton was a true highlight of the show and gave all who attended a captivating experience with powerful vocals and a true understanding of the character TiMoune.

“‘Once On This Island’ was my first musical ever,” Burton said. “When I was nine years old, I played Little TiMoune at my local university and found myself loving the experience and continued doing theatre. I’ve done the show three times since, playing various characters, but this was my first time playing TiMoune, and it meant the world to me to play this role in my last show here as a student.”

“Once On This Island” was a visually captivating show, using audience interaction in such an intimate space as Glaize Theatre, incorporating culturally-accurate dance moves, and spectacular costuming made the musical one that no one could take their eyes off of.

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