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CENTERSTAGE's Once on This Island Interview
 
This is reprinted from an article from Baltimore.Broadwayworld.com that was originally published on January 13, 2006 entitled "Who sees a musical at 10:30 am?" Trisha, as well as the other ten cast members, participated in a Question and Answer session with school children after a special performance for them. Her responses are in boldface below. To view the actual full article by Charles Shubow, please go here.

How does Actor's Equity allow this? The cast of "Once on this Island performed Wednesday night at 8 p.m. and the next MORNING were to do a student matinee that began at 10:30 a.m.?? This is dedication. ...
 
... Following the performance most of the schools allowed their students to remain for a Q & A with the entire cast on stage.
 
These were some of the questions and the actor's answers:
 
Q - What the the television monitors hanging from the balcony?
A - We used the monitors to let us know when to enter a scene and to follow the music.
 
Q - How many strings were used on the bass guitar?
A - Six

Q - How would you describe the style of dance?
A - Afro-Caribbean

Q - How often did you rehearse?
A - A lot...8 hours a day.

Q - Were you nervous the first time you were ever on stage and today?
A - Yes...No

Q - How did you do the accents?
A - We had a dialect coach (Scott Whitehurst)

Q - How did you get your start in acting?
A - Keep auditioning and auditioning until you get it. NEVER GIVE UP.

Q - Papa Ge...who did you get your laugh?
A - Christopher Morgan. From the character Jafar in the Disney cartoon movie "Aladdin."

Q - How long have you been singing and acting?
A - Trisha Jeffrey (Ti Moune) I started singing at age 11 and had been dancing for 10 years but had no classical training. I studied African dance and jazz at college.

Q - How did you make the dancing look so easy?
A - By LaVon Fisher. It's all about relationships...we enjoy each other and play a lot...like we're 12.

Q- Is there anything in the play that relates to your normal life?
A- Trisha. Yes...defying parents, leaving home, begging a friend to stay and they leave... a lot of women go through that. Moments in life help make us better actors on stage... we're connected to it.

Q - How is it to work with two different young Ti Mounes?
A - Christopher. Very easy. We got lucky with two great young actresses.

Q - Was dancing hard to learn?
A - E. Faye Butler. When you're 90...the older you get..the harder it is...have to warm up more, wrap knees...you can't hurt yourself on stage...have to prepare yourself.

Q - Any tips you can give?
A- Christopher. Don't ever stop...keep on going...take lots of classes...get a lot of experience...network...volunteer in school plays.
     David St. Louis: Don't get stuck in one style of acting or dance...do it all.
     E. Faye Butler: This is a short-lived business. Don't negate what your parents say. Get an education.

Q. - Was it rough to audition when you have to act, sing and dance?
A - J.D.Goldblatt. Well...you pick a song you know very well.
     David St. Louis. I am NOT a dancer but I sing very well.

Q. - What year does the play occur?
A - LaVon Fisher. It's an imaginary time..it's a tale. But our director put it in the 1950's.
     David St. Louis: But this is still the life of many in the islands even today.

Q - To Miah Marie Patterson (young Ti Moune). What do you do in your spare time and how do you remember your lines?
A. Not hard to remember the lines. It's natural actually. I watch tv, go to school, draw, sing and dance.

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