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Darlington musical 'Once on This Island' offers a love story for everyone

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It’s a “bucket list” play for Darlington School’s theater director Shelley Daniel, who says “Once on This Island” has something for everyone.

Darlington’s production of the play opens Friday at the Rome City Auditorium, with shows Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased in advance on the musical’s website or at the door the day of the show. General admission tickets are $10. Darlington families and booster club members may request reserved seating for no additional cost. Reserved seating is $15 for the general public and is offered online only, available on a first-come, first-served basis.

“It is like a Greek myth meets ‘Romeo and Juliet’ meets ‘The Little Mermaid,’” explained Daniel. “The action takes place in the middle of a hurricane on a small Caribbean island. The god of death is waging a battle against the goddess of love.”

Daniel explains that like in many Greek myths, the gods on the island are bored and wanting to play games with the island’s inhabitants.

“The lead female character is being used as a pawn in their game,” she said. “The story shows the strength of love.

“It’s a great message, because even when things don’t go as expected, love is still beautiful and powerful.”

The peasant girl falls in love with a wealthy young man and tries to help him against all odds and all the obstacles the gods put in front of her.

The show features a large cast, most of whom are onstage for the entire show. A group of peasants act as storytellers, sharing the story with a little girl who is frightened by the hurricane.

“This show offers a lot of special effects, we use smoke machines and strobes and lots of colors,” Daniel said. “The dancing and the songs and the acting, everything is very complex and it tells a wonderful story.”

The show is special, because it is a student-run show, Daniel said.

“I believe about 20 percent of the school’s student body worked on this show in some capacity,” she said. “We have student-designed posters, the headshots of the cast were taken by students, and students provide most of the music.”

Students also assembled their costumes, and the show is a “no sew show,” added Daniel.

“We did a trash to treasure method,” Daniel explained. “We took old costumes, fabrics and tied them together, tucked them in here and there, and made peasant costumes.

“All of the peasant blouses are repurposed men’s button down shirts with the collars cut off and a gather put in.”