Eastern Connecticut State University’s Performing Arts Department performed the musical “South Pacific” in the Harry Hope Theatre from Nov. 19-24.
“South Pacific” was set during World War II on two islands in the Pacific Ocean where American sailors were stationed. It began with a musical arrangement sung by lead characters; Alexis Kurt, a junior theatre major who played Ensign Nellie Forbush, a U.S. Navy nurse from Arkansas; and Corey Lorraine, a sophomore double majoring in theatre and mathematics, who played middle-aged French plantation owner Emile de Becque.
After this first song, the plot took a rapid turn, delving into the romance between Nellie and Emile. Though it seemed to be love at first sight with a perfect marriage ensuing before the audience’s eyes, complications took a turn later in the play when Nellie was introduced to Emile’s mixed-race children.
Aside from the lead roles and the main love story, other characters in the musical were important in advancing the plot and performing the musical arrangements. Bloody Mary, played by Olivia Beaullan, a senior theatre major, was a Tokinese woman learning English from American sailors who taught her violent, profane language. She was a funny, witty and strong character. Bloody Mary introduced her daughter to one of the young U.S. lieutenants with the intention of them marrying. However, more problems evolved due to the interracial relationships. Race and prejudice versus love was the prominent theme within “South Pacific;” What was more important?