“Island” doesn’t disappoint

The music was intense and the actors ran on the stage, some zig zagging while others ran and crouched down in a small circle. A small group of performers ran over to a small girl and hoisted her above their shoulder next to the small circle. The drum beat repeatedly as a storm tossing a young girl into a tree was being created on the stage.

From Mar. 12-16 in the Cassella Theater the Castleton State College Theatre Arts Department performed the musical Once on this Island. The production, directed by Harry McEnerny IV, was about an island inhabited by peasants and the wealthy.

The story begins with this young girl named TiMoune, played by fifth grader Elli Hasenohr from Tinmouth Elementary School, trapped in a large tree. She is rescued by an old married peasant couple who care for her as if she was their own.

The actors also played the roles of the wind, trees, bushes, and cars. A line of actors ran across the stage following the leader to form wind. Another actor ran across stage with flashlights in each hand to portray a car.

The most impressive feat of these performers was when they formed a base of a tree, and a few others held little Timoune up high in the air as the branches.

When TiMoune grows up, played by Brette Tucker, she falls in love with a wealthy boy who crashes his car on the peasant’s side of the island. She cares for him while he lay on a mat, and she believes the gods have sent him to her.

Papa Ge, the demon of death played by David Gabaree, strikes a deal with TiMoune to trade her life in the place of his. During the negotiation Papa Ge strides across the stage singing triumphantly. Her surrogate father travels to the wealthy part of the island and explains how the wealthy boy crashed his car.

Daniel, the injured wealthy boy, is returned to his people against TiMoune’s wishes. She travels to the wealthy community and tells Daniel she is the one who sat by him trying to heal him after his accident.

The wealthy society looks down on TiMoune for being a peasant, and do not approve of Daniel having her stay with him. All the wealthy people finally accept TiMoune when she dances for them, mesmerizing them with her ethnic moves.

After TiMoune wows the wealthy folk with her dancing Daniel tells her that he is to be married to another woman.

The wealthy society mirrors one of pre determined marriage, and things drastically change for TiMoune.

Papa Ge offers TiMoune a new deal, one where her life will now be spared. He tells her she can take Daniel’s life in the place of hers, and hands her a knife. TiMoune does not kill Daniel, but instead waits outside the entrance gates to the wealthy village.

She waits until the day of his marriage, and tragically dies shortly after. The gods bless TiMoune and transform her into a magnificent tree, one where Daniel’s children will one day climb and play.

The play ran smoothly as Castleton’s Theatre Arts Department once again put on a great show. Lending a huge helping hand to the production was the band who provided music before and during the show. The actors were right on key with their singing, and very organized with their choreography. Brette Tucker did a fantastic job with the musical portion of the play.

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