Once On This Island
May 12 – May 24, 2020
Book and Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Once On This Island is a musical based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid; it is set on a fictional island (resembling Haiti) in the French Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. The show’s love story (a peasant girl falls in love with a wealthy man from the other side of the island) is a fairy tale told to a small child by the chorus (the villagers). Parents and concerned theatergoers should peruse the following guidelines carefully.
Violence/Scariness: In a song about the origin of the beauxhommes, the light-skinned island gentry, the chorus tells of a Frenchman, Armand, who came to the island in the time of Napoleon and married a pale blonde woman, but also “took his pleasure with the women / Who served him / Black peasant girls from the village beyond.” Today, the chorus points out, “They despise us for our blackness / It reminds them where they’re from.”
A character is threatened by a deadly flood and shelters in a tree. During a storm, another character is injured in a car crash. The show’s staging of these events (the car crash, the storm) is theatrical rather than realistic.
A character approaches a grand hotel, but he is refused entry by the guard at the gate, who knocks him down.
A character is given a knife and told that she must take another’s life; she raises the knife, but does not use it.
Sexual References: Sexual references are implied or suggested, rather than explicit.
A man invites a woman to “stay the night and show me your powers. Make me forget this pain.” The chorus surrounds them and hides them from view. There is no explicit sex.
Adult Language: None.
Alcohol/Drug Use: None.