Once On This Island: Why We Tell The Story!
Once on this Island is about a girl who yearns to find her purpose in life, and does so by leaving her family and the people she has known her entire life to journey over to the other side of the island that she has never seen before. It is a coming of age story full of color, vibrant music and dancing, and a story that touches the hearts of all who hear it. The themes in this show are universally important, but our big question is this: "Why do we tell this story with the youth of Monteverde?"
The environment in which this story is told is so similar to the one in which these young people have grown up. Monteverde as well as the island in our story are places in which the natural world shapes the societies and cultures of the people who live there. In Once on this Island, the gods and goddesses of the natural elements - earth, water, love, and death - shape the interactions between the characters and dictate the story that they tell.
In Monteverde, the natural environment that surrounds the community is an integral element in how it has developed. Its location in the cloud forest and its proximity to the continental divide make it a place full of ecological diversity and give the people here a sense of responsibility to preserve it. The people in this area are dedicated to the environment, just as the environment supports the culture and community of the people of Monteverde.
The story of Ti Moune, the protagonist of Once on this Island, is also an incredibly accessible one for any young person, but especially for the young people here in Monteverde. Monteverde is located in the beautiful, yet somewhat isolated, Tilaran Mountains in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. The sense of geographic isolation that comes with living on a mountain hours away from any major city is not unlike the sense of isolation Ti Moune feels on her socially and geographically divided island. Out of this division come important social themes such as class division, racial division, gender roles, and cultural differences between people living in the same place.
Monteverde, beautiful and serene as it is, is not immune to these themes, and we feel it is vitally important that our students feel open to discuss them in a safe space and within the context of this production.
We tell this story because it is true. Nature is all around us, and it affects us every day. It has a hand in where we live, what other animals and plants inhabit our homes, and how we interact with each other. As the song says: Life, pain, love, grief, hope, faith, "you are why we tell the story!"