The highlight of my weekend, by far, was seeing Musket’s Once on This Island performed at the Power Center this Saturday night. I can easily say that this was one of the most fantastic performances I’ve ever seen on a stage—there was so much incredible talent on the stage and in the seams of this show, and the cast brought so much energy and love to this story.
Once on This Island is a story set in the modern day French Antilles. An orphan girl, spared by the gods from a storm that swept her village, is taken in by an older couple and lovingly nicknamed Ti Moune. One day, a car crashes with a wealthy boy from the other side of the island, Daniel, inside. Ti Moune saves his life and falls in love with him, but when she pursues him back to the city, she is shunned by him and his people. The gods make a deal betting which is stronger, love or death, and Ti Moune, full with love and forgiveness for Daniel, loses her life. The gods transform her into a beautiful and strong tree, a tree so large it breaks open the city’s gates and provides shade to all people of the island.
Simone Clotile, a University of Michigan junior, led the cast as a stunning Ti Moune. Clotile’s vocals are unmatched: clear, strong, and full of heart. My lungs were knocked clean of air during Ti Moune’s introductory song, “Waiting for Life.” Other standout performances included Tonton Julian, played by Nile Andah, and the gods: Abigail Aziz as Erzulie with a stunning solo “The Human Heart,” Mama Euralie played by Sarah Oguntumilade, and a sly and (wonderfully) terrifying portrayal of Pape Ge, the death god, by Jackson Kanawha Perry. Everything from costumes to choreography shined. The band, which was on the stage, blended into the set and story seamlessly, contributing to the masterful collaboration of music, dance, and acting on stage.
Musket does a fantastic job with their productions, and this was no exception. Congrats to the cast and crew for an amazing performance!