Once on this Island: Cast and Crew Interviews

Grace Lester, Reporter

On Feb. 17-19, the fine arts department will be putting on “Once on this Island” as the annual winter musical at the Rome City Auditorium. You can buy tickets here.

Are you going to see the play?

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Palesa Molapo: Ti Moune

You’ve been in about ten plays, correct? What role has been your favorite?

“It is a hard choice between Ti Moune (Once on this Island) and Nora (A Doll’s House) because they challenged me in new ways. Nora is different from Ti Moune – Ti Moune was just hard in a different way than Nora was. They both emotionally took me a new place in terms of acting.”


What have you learned from your character?

“I have definitely learned how to forgive and to get the most out of life. Ti Moune represents passion, love, determination, and not letting people judge you for who you are or where you come from. I’ve learned that it’s important to stay true to those who you love, and not to give up on love no matter what.”


What lessons do you hope the audience will take out of the play?

“I hope, I think most of all I hope people take away from this the story of compassion for others and for love itself and just like shows both sides of it – compassionate and not to judge someone for their point of view.”


Could you walk me through your process, long term?

“First, I learn my lines and lyrics – it’s really important to get those things solid so during the show it just comes naturally. The next step would be to know your (my) motivation, knowing what Ti Moune wants out of this action or what a certain word means for her, why is she singing this, why does she feel so passionate about what she’s doing. With musicals, they are kind of like plays where people are so brought to emotion where they just have to sing it. There is no other to express their emotion than through music so that’s how you have to approach it. Once you learn the lyrics it’s really fun to bring in the acting. Acting is where you are looking people in the eye and the words mean something. I think, for me, what really took me to the next level with Ti Moune is really believing I am Ti Moune, you can’t be Palesa playing Ti Moune. You have to think about all the things that have brought Ti Moune to this moment and brought her to where she is in life so the performance won’t be phony, it will be authentic and other people will be empathic with your character and feel with your character. That’s the key to being Ti Moune or really any character in the show.”


Anything else you’d like to add?

“I would like to thank the cast, crew, Ms. Daniel, Mrs. Tunnell, and Mr. McVety for enabling me to be the actress that I am today, I wouldn’t be anything without them.”


Morgan Ivester: Ensemble (storyteller/peasant)

In three words how would you describe the play?

“I would say suspenseful, touching and emotional.”


What is your favorite line or moment in the play? (without giving anything away)

“There are so many great moments in the play, so I’d say my favorite song to perform is “Mama Will Provide” because it’s such a fun song and the whole ensemble enjoys performing it. Morgan Adams is having a lot of fun doing her part, and it is a really happy song that brings us together.”


While watching the actors transform into their characters, who do you think changes the most?

“It’s not different for Miju (Mama Euralie) to act like the caring mother figure that she is in the play, I feel that she would do that anyways, but the emotions that she puts into her performance are phenomenal. She is a very happy person and in this play she has to be very motherly; very nervous, protective, and it is a big character to play. Her performance is so beautiful it makes me cry.”  


Anything else you’d like to add?

“I would like to thank Ms. Daniel for putting her entire heart and soul into the musical, she has spent so much time working on this. I would also like to thank Mr. McVety, Mrs. Tunnell and Mr. Broome for working so hard with us and being so forgiving. If you would like to come out and work for the play or musical next year, even if you have never been interested, then I would like to encourage you because it has been some of the best memories I have made in high school. We are very welcoming for everyone and would love to have you as apart of our program.


Carson Barnes: Tonton Julian

What is the hardest part about playing your character?

“I think the hardest part for me has been that I have only played a funny or angry character and I’ve never had to go into an emotional or the sad side of the character.”


What is your favorite characteristic about your character?

“I like the fatherly aspect of my character, in the play he is the father of the main character and, in a way, of the village. It’s fun to implement that into how I play the fatherly role.”


Why would you recommend people to see this play?

“People should come see the play because you can get any moral lesson out of it, there really isn’t an overall moral of the story. It is a story that applies to so many aspects that anyone can find meaning for themselves in the play.”


Do you have any advice for people who want to act or be apart of the musical, but are too shy or hesitant?

“I think the best thing to do is to go for it, go out on a limb and do it. As someone who started out by just going out on a limb and doing it just for fun, it was the best decision I have ever made in high school. I met so many new people, I met my best friend and because of that I have been able to open up in so many different ways. I feel that joining the crew in the winter musical during my freshmen year was the best decision I made in all of high school because that is what has made me into the person I am today and why I have opened up as a person. I think theater really helps shy people open up to the world.”


Anything else you’d like to add?

“If anyone has hesitation at all or any desire at all to be apart of theater join because it is such a great community that you really can’t experience anywhere else. There is such a family feel and connection that you make with people in week, tech week, it’s friendships you’ll have for the rest of your life.”

Laura Schnitzer: Crew

What is your favorite part about being behind the scenes?

“First off, seeing how it all comes together and how you can make something so great and looks so awesome and sounds so amazing out of so many completely different people. We are all from ten different countries, twenty-seven different states and we all come together to create something that is new and so awesome as a collective whole. The community, the atmosphere, is so positive and void of hatefulness, everyone trusts each other and there is no sense of judgement.”


What do you do for crew? I.e. costumes, props, etc..

“Well, we created all the costumes ourselves. The entire costume crew was working everyday after school creating all these different costumes, that is one great thing about the show. We all made this ourselves. The all the costumes are student made, we didn’t buy anything. We created the costumes from old stuff we already had. We also help the cast get on their costumes and make sure they are stage on time.”

Who is your favorite character to watch?  

“I, honestly, can’t chose. There are so many crazily talented people in the play. However, I love that all the cast how well the cast works together to create this entire family of performers.”


Which character do you think changes the most?

“I think, throughout the show the character that changes the most are probably Carson’s and Miju’s characters because they go through not having kids to having a child then losing the child and having to deal emotionally with that throughout the play. ”