Fabulist Theatre, a local company known for diverse casting of its shows, is bringing Once On This Island to Vancouver this Spring. This is the first Vancouver production of Once On This Island, a revival is currently playing on Broadway at Circle In The Square Theatre.
Based on the 1985 novel “My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl” by Rosa Guy, Once On This Island is a one-act musical, set in the French Antilles. With elements of Romeo & Juliet and a magical touch of The Little Mermaid, the musical tells the story of Ti Moune, an orphaned local girl, who, with a little help of the Island’s local Gods, uses the power of love to bring together the island’s different classes.
In casting this production, director Damon Bradley Jang drew from Vancouver’s diverse talent pool to find his actors. Jang says “we wanted to cast based on the culturally diverse community of performers who make up Greater Vancouver and might otherwise be underrepresented in the city. We fully acknowledge that the story is a largely set in Haiti but we wanted to use the story as a platform to address the more universal themes of love, death, and social prejudice. In the agreement, the writers have stipulated that the show can be done with a multi ethnic cast as long as these themes are presented.
Traditionally, the show focuses heavily on the division of class indicated by paleness of skin. The native islander ‘peasants’ were darker skinned and the French “Grand hommes” were lighter skinned. However, in our version, our Ti Moune (Brianna Clark) is ‘pale skin’ in comparison to our Daniel (Michael Gnansounou) who is ‘darker skin’ which is a bit of a nontraditional casting choice.”
Fabulist Theatre presents Once On This Island at the Redgate Revue Stage on Granville Island, from April 6th to 14th, 2018. Tickets are available now online at brownpapertickets.com