Once on This Island: A Selma High Production

Diana Garza, Co-Editor in Chief/Webmaster/Co-Sports Editor

Despite a last minute critical setback, the Selma High spring musical Once on This Island will be performed on May 28 and 29. Originally intended for 2020, the Drama Club has started from scratch, finally bringing the musical to the stage. 

The play follows the protagonist, Ti Moune, who falls in love with a man she can not have, Daniel. However the gods reigning over the island meddle with Ti Moune’s fate, creating a conflict of life and death. Once on This Island is more than a love story, consisting of coming of age confrontations, struggles with destiny, and exploring the complex relationships between the segregated. 

“We have been practicing since the end of January three times a week,” explained Mrs. Nieves, the musical’s director. “Our theater class also helped with publicity, designing makeup, lighting, set/props, costumes, and sound.”

The Drama Club has been hard at work, extending practices in order to be prepared for opening night. They’ve already completed a successful dress rehearsal—a full costume mock performance—in front of some elementary students, and are ready to present their production.

“It feels very refreshing to be on stage and perform,” said Leilauni Guizar. This is Guizar’s first year participating in theater. She plays Andrea, who’s betrothed to Daniel (which is Ti Moune’s forbidden love). Although a novice, Guizar has already come to appreciate Drama Club.

“My favorite part is the castemates,” explained Guizar. “They make the musical enjoyable and much funner than you would expect it to be.” 

The Drama Club has come to appreciate their art, enjoying the tedious labor which follows preparation. 

“The process was basically a lot of practice and late nights,” expressed senior Caden Linhoff. “Theater is fun and I missed it.” Linhoff has been a part of the theater before, however this spring they are a stage manager. Their role consisted of assisting the directing and backstage fabrications of producing a musical. 

Because anyone can speak words into the air, acting is much more than memorizing lines. The Drama Club has fought past simplicities, coming together to render a captivating story. 

“It’s also been stressful,” described Guizar. “When you’re not doing a song, just on stage standing there, you have to think about your facial expressions. It’s thinking about what your character would do and entertaining the audience.” 

It’s clear the cast and crew value their time together, finding gratification in the art they produce. 

“We had practice on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 3:30 P.M. to 5:30 P.M.,” added Hailey Hurtado. “The cast has become a second family. You get really close to them and really bond.” Hurtado is also new to theater. However, she has cherished the experience.

Although composed predominantly of newcomers, the musical has come together in a beautiful way. By tackling a complex story of classism, love, and death, the Drama Club has been able to grow as individuals. Trying new things and jumping into novelties has allowed the theater members to garner confidence and be proud of the musical they have created.