Once on This Island - December 06 - December 08, 2018

The SEED School of Washington, DC


Each year, as I sit to write my Director’s Notes, I find that it becomes increasingly difficult to capture in words, and in the space provided, the amazing power of our SEED community. This journey... or should I say this "story" began in early May and in that time the cast, crew, production staff and our many community members have worked tirelessly to bring this story to life. This process was filled with excitement, laughter, "ah-ha" moments, and a genuine celebration of one another; but it was also not without moments of tears, frustration, sweat, exhaustion, and reflection.


Our story began in May of 2018 when the Aladdin, Jr. cast traveled to NYC to see the Broadway revival of Once On This Island. This production has been receiving rave reviews and I could not think of a production more fitting for our scholar artists to see: a cast with all artists of color. Who better to give our scholar artists an experience of a lifetime than professional actors that look like them, potentially have similar experiences and world views as them, and could offer a transferrable learning experience. Watching our scholar artists on the edge of their seats the entire production... watching every moment... responding to every artistic element... talking for hours about every aspect of the production.... didn't move me to tears of joy or happiness (per se), it moved me to inspiration. I was inspired to do a production this year that resonated with our scholar-artists and the artistic team on so many levels. While the musical is a fairy tale of star-crossed lovers, inherent in this tale are the serious themes of class distinction and racial prejudice that plague our society today.  Through music, song and dance this musical explores universal issues which affect us all -- love, anger, forgiveness, faith, maturity, and death; and I was compelled to allow our scholars to tackle these issues through a creative process.


Once On This Island explores the tradition of storytelling, not only as entertainment, but as a means of passing down history, values, and insight from one generation to the next. It deals with the classic themes of love, loss, and redemption through the fabric of Caribbean culture, art, religion, and social structure. Throughout our rehearsal and production process we have reflected on our own personal stories and what value they bring to our community and to our society. Life's journey is about learning "why we tell the story"!


Ms. Randee Grant and Ms. Tina Taylor have worked tirelessly to put their unique stamp on this production not only with their artistic abilities, but in aiding our scholar artist in the craft of storytelling. I am very fortunate to work with such talented individuals. My appreciation for what they collectively bring to the table, talents that differ greatly from what I have to give, knows no bounds.


I would also like to personally recognize our talented scholar-artists participating in this production. You continue to inspire me daily and help me to learn more about myself and the value of arts in education in your lives. You all have such amazing gifts and talents. Thank you for not giving up. Thank you for becoming a sponge in the process. Thank you for sharing your talents with the world. You are valued and appreciated.


Thank you for your continued support of The SEED Falcon Theatre. We are very grateful you are here and hope you enjoy!





Dr. LaMar Bagley

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