Rosa Guy’s My Love, My Love, or, The Peasant Girl (1985) has embraced its Trinidadian roots to inspire the riveting new Ola Ince directed theatre piece, Once on this Island. Whilst the source novel was itself based on Han Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid (1837), it not only inspired the 1989 film adaptation, but also the more recent Walt Disney remake.
It seems fitting that, in this tradition of adaptation and invention, the fabulous carnival costume designer Melissa Simon Hartman has charmed this “whirlwind story of romance and redemption” with extravagant island colours that bring home the oneness of the ocean as well as the fire of the fête.
Once on this Island will preview at the Regents Park Open Air Theatre on 10 May, before opening there a week later and running until 10 June. The epic tale will star Gabrielle Brooks, Stephenson Ardern-Sodje, and Anelisa Lamola, whose characters embark on a quest “to prove that love is more powerful than death”. Stephen Flaherty provides the musical landscape for a story that was a major Broadway hit in the US.
UK audiences will be blessed with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the vibrant, vivacious physical beauty that is conjured when expression and stage combine. On this epic stage Asaka (mother of the Earth), Agwé: (god of water), Erzulie: (goddess of love), and Papa Ge (demon of death), will, in the minds of the many, once more, hearing the yearnings of the rebels, speak and come alive.