Yesterday I went to see Once in this Island at the Circle in the square Theatre. Once on this Island is a broadway revival, that brings culture, life and passion to the New York stage. It explores the importance of storytelling, telling the audience, and a little girl, who was scared, the story of an island where the rich and poor are divided, and how the Gods remove the divide through the power of Love. I loved this show and thrilled that I got to see it before I left NYC.
The most impressive thing about the show was the community created among the audience and the actors. The show never really began. The house lights didn’t come down until the audience was fully immersed in the show, and the characters developed over time. The audience was thrown into the island, and not just because they were surrounded by actors, props and the set. The Gods began to take form with simple accessories, such as blue paint, or scrap chiffon. Once the storytelling fully began, they were transformed into full costumes, based off the accessories. Clint Ramos did a fantastic job in throwing the audience into the story.
Hailey Kilgore, Ti Moune, brought a childlike wonder to the show, with eyes wide at everything. And Lord knows she can belt. And of course Emerson Davis, who played the little girl, had beautiful voice and was very talented. The whole cast was extremely talented, and lured the audience into the action.
The cast were so evidently passionate and I wanted to go up and dance with them. You could tell the audience knew this. They were so supportive, and there for the performance. I have noticed that on Broadway, the audiences tend to be more audible, than I’m used to. However with this show, you could see it was genuine love, and support, when people applauded, and the instantaneous standing ovation. Even I found myself cheering the whole performance and itching to stand up at the end. The run time was 90 minutes, it felt far longer, and yet I could have watched it for four times as long, and still want to have seen more.
I was reminded of something someone once told me. “Passion of theatre always shines through and makes any performance transcendent. It cannot be rewarded by a single part, but by a lifetime of a dramatist” This show was dripping with passion, culture, life and colour. I would highly recommend- and I would be very surprised if it doesn’t become a front runner for the Tonys next year.