Talking with Arta Negahban and Teilani Rasmussen, the two youngest cast members of the production “Once On This Island” directed by Damon Bradley Jang, only solidified my interest in going to see this show Saturday night at the Red Gate Revue Stage on Granville Island! The two young actors are already so mature and gave great insight into what this show will hold for theatre goers of all ages. They describe an emotional show, with themes of self-discovery and independence.
Negahban, when describing one of her favorite characters in the show stated “Ti-Moune never gives up on what she really wants. She always aims in that direction.”, directly tied to her own interpretation of the show’s themes: “It’s about going to that place you have always wanted to be.” Rasmussen highlighted one scene, in particular, she describes as "...just exploding on stage with emotion." and captured a beautiful lesson she took away from the production: “You can make your own path, and be creative and imaginative with everything that comes your way.”
Name: Arta Negahban
OSB: What is musical theatre?:
A: In a nutshell, there is singing, dancing and facial expression. And to be able to sing and dance at the same time is very hard! One other thing that's very important is how well you know other people in the show. I met so many new people I'd never thought I'd be able to be friends with. It's just awesome, they become your family after a while!
OSB-How did you get into musical theatre?:
A: I never thought that I'd be doing musical theatre. I didn't really know what it was until my dance teacher (from Tri-City Dance Centre) asked me to do this show "Fiddler On The Roof” with Royal City Musical Theatre and she said, "you have very nice facial expression and you're a very nice dancer... would you like to come and audition for this?" So we went and auditioned and the director, Valerie Easton, she said I got the role! We rehearsed for four months. It was a very nice well-held experience. And the cast... they became my family.I kind of just got into musical theatre, and I was very shocked with what it was.
OSB- What important themes are there in the show:
This story shows how much people change throughout their journey to becoming a young adult.
OSB- Why is this a musical for all ages?:
There's a lot to learn from this show. The songs are very powerful. It's about… When you start off as a young, not knowing what you want to do in the future when you're following your path but not knowing what that direction is. So you say "Screw it! I'm just going to go this way!" It's about going to that place you have always wanted to be.
In this show, there are many adults and just two kids. We have learned a lot from them in this show. We were not as knowledgeable about the story until now.
OSB- is your favourite character and why do you like them?:
The character I like the most in this show is probably Erzulie. She never gives up, whatever her mom says. Whether she has no food or isn't sleeping. I also like Ti-Moune because she never gives up on what she really wants. She always aims in that direction.
OSB- What's something that stands out for you in this production?:
All the Gods are completely different, they almost have nothing in common except that… They all have different aspect of what they want to be doing. It's great to see all those different points of view.
Name: Teilani Rasmussen
OSB- What is your history with musical theatre?:
T:For me, musical theatre has always been a very big part of my life. When I was 5, singing was my favourite thing in the whole world, and when I was 8 years old acting was big. I decided that acting throughout your songs is a big part of the performance. I joined a group at the Quay in New West. I went to go see a show and I noticed there was a lot of Lindburg students and decided to go to the school. I completed there for voice singing, and I've done 4 shows for musical theatre. It's really led to everything I'm doing now.
OSB- What important themes are there in the show:
T:You can be your own person, and you don't need to follow everyone around you. You watch [the main character], she decides to go outside her comfort zone.
OSB-Why is this a musical for all ages?:
T: I think it's for all ages because from when you're born to however old you get, you always learn to be yourself and make your own decisions. You don't need to follow your friends or family. You can make your own path and be creative and imaginative with everything that comes your way. We learned from the adults in the show. [They] showed us what they've experienced.
OSB- Who is your favourite character and why do you like them?:
T: I'd probably say Erzulie, the goddess of Love because, throughout every song and every story, she's showing another perspective. She shows that there is always love. No matter what, you'll always have someone there for you.
OSB- What's something that stands out for you in this production?
T: There's this one scene called "Pray". There's all this commotion and it just shows everyone coming together. There's so much panic and they show their emotions through dance and singing. It's amazing to watch. It just explodes on stage with emotion
“Once On This Island” The Vancouver Company Produced by Fabulist Theatre plays a limited engagement of April 6th to 14th at the Red Gate Revue Stage on Granville Island. Tickets at http://OOTIvan.bpt.me.
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- Once On This Island
- Director/ Associate Choreographer- Damon Bradley Jang
- Musical Direction- Amy Gartner
- Choreography- Marion Landers
- Production Manager- Mary Littlejohn
- Stage Manager- Stacy Albrect
- Assistant Stage Manager- Maraya Frances
- Lighting Design- Michael Methot
- Costume Design- Chris Sinosish
- Makeup Design- Sharon Grogan