WWII musical addresses war, prejudices




The Augustana College Theatre Department is currently performing the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific.

South Pacific is set on an island during World War II, and explores the harsh realities of war and racial prejudice through the lens of two pairs of lovers.

An Arkansas nurse, Nellie, played by senior Maren Engel, falls for the Frenchman Emile, played by freshman Ian Curtis. However, when Nellie discovers that an island native mothered Emile’s children, her prejudices take hold and she refuses to marry Emile.

Lt. Joe Cable, played by freshman Travis Miller, has the same fears as Nellie. Due to his racial prejudice, he doesn’t allow himself to be with the Tonkinese girl he has fallen in love with, Liat, played by freshman Beth Schleusener.

Curtis said his favorite part of playing the French Emile was working out his accent, and also stated his enjoyment of the men’s chorus song, “There’s Nothing Like a Dame.” When asked about the most difficult task in performing South Pacific, Curtis said, “I would say finding the emotions that are prevalent with Emile De Becque, because he has so many facets.”

Despite its sometimes dark subject matter, South Pacific is full of lighthearted comedy and the beautiful musical genius of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

The Augustana performance began May 1 and runs through May 5, with shows at 7:30 p.m. and two matinee shows on May 4 and 5 at 2 p.m. in the Edith Mortensen Center.

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