Feb 19, 2020

The Cultural Context of Once on This Island

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Once On This Island is set in the Caribbean. The Caribbean culture is a diverse and rich culture in the Northern Hemisphere and most of the Caribbean territories were inhabited and settled earlier than European colonization of the Americas.

For this reason, themes and symbols of pioneers, farmers, and traders were important in the early development of Caribbean culture.

The British Empire extended to the Caribbean in the mid-18th century and brought a large French-speaking population, who lived under British rule, thus creating a need for compromise and accommodation as there were also influences of African, Dutch and Spanish cultures.

Due to the unique cultural development of the Caribbean, a clear divide in power and status was established within the culture. In the French islands, cultural identity is strong, and this feeling of belonging leads to class and social separations.

This production of Once On This Island explores these societal separations and tensions. In the show, Ti Moune and her family live in a smaller ‘English Caribbean’ village seen as lower class and the boy she falls in love with, Daniel, comes from the French-influenced village seen as the higher class. In the world of the play, these two societies do not mix or interact.

Once on This Island comes to Spokane March 17-18.