This newest really off-off-Broadway musical takes us into the strange lives of people lost into the small islands of the South Colombian jungle. A terrible war opposes the Farcoca Archipelago with the islanders of the Paisa group. The show opens when the super rich palm oil planter, Emile Le Chavec fumbles around the area trying to fish for pavon in troubled waters.
In the opening scene Nurse Alvarie ForBush receives Emile in a Paisa plantation on Bogota Island. There, in her first tune “I am a cockeyed Optimist” she tells Emile that the war against Farcoca is going OK, but that she would like him to help in some secret mission to try to release a few hundred prisoners that are held for ransom. They really seem to like each other as they discuss Captain Santander and the wreck of the Bolivarian ship on the Grand Colombia atoll long ago.
Returning on board his fishing boat, the “XXI-ner”, a speedy social cruiser, Emile gives us the first show stopper when he refers to that “Enchanted Evening” where across the crowded room he saw the possibilities offered by Alvarie to improve his glory. But unfortunately he does mistake Alvarie request for help as her hitting on him, seeing her as yet another one of his future conquests.
Ashore a few people are getting bored with the war going on and are missing their friends prisoner on other islands. A European madam that drifted to these shores looking for ways to improve her polls at home, “Bloody Nicole”, has decided to make one of these prisoners as her putative daughter and she stirs anyone into action to rescue her, no matter how silly it might look. She sings of “Cali High”, an island clouded in burning drugs smoke as an idyllic place where breathing is enough to make you 'feel good' and where love can be found by whomever rescues Ingriat, the most beloved icon du jour. She eventually convinces some of the men on the beach to go to Cali High, among them Seabee De Villipillis and Lieutenant Luther Kouchner. They use some Swiss cheese as a token bargain with the natives of Cali High.
Back at the plantation Alvarie has seen through the games of Le Chavec, realizing he might actually be working for the Farcocas. In addition she discovers that Emile has ethnic set prejudices and only likes people who agree with him and who do not look too white. Pissed off she decides to “Wash That Man Out Of Her Hair”.
Weeks have passed and the rift between Alvarie and Emile got much worse. In fact, things come to a break point when Lieutenant Joe Belt is found hiding a Farcocan, Lewis Kings and a few iPods loaded with rap and hip hop, Broadways no-no.
Meanwhile Bloody Nicole and Emile have been having all sorts of “Happy Talk” pretending to free some of the Cali High ‘retained’. These words do not satisfy Seabee De Villipillis who, along a whole bunch of people who never heard of South Colombia and cared even less for until Ingriat was made prisoner, keeps desperately trying to find Ingriat .
Trying to smooth things up, Emile hosts a thanksgiving show on the beach which turns as a drunken party of sorts where among helicopters flying around, movie directors and a confusion between ‘retained’ and hostages, security and bandits we can hear a security high ranking officer calling “Honey Bun” one of the terrorist. But the party of Emile turns to a bust quickly when suddenly Alvarie appears with Ingriat at her hands. People are shocked at her looking “Younger Than Spring Time” in spite of her days captive at Cali High. Everybody goes away glued to Ingriat words asking her “Dîtes Moi, Dîtes Moi”. Le Chavec left far behind is heard wondering mournfully aloud “This Nearly Was Mine”.
Ingriat thinks that everybody “Got to be Carefully Taught” but her confusing reprise of “Dîtes-Moi” one thing early in her act and “Dîtes-Moi” another later into it when Bloody Nicole welcomes her back, worries most folks. Emile and Alvarie start suspecting that Ingriat cannot be relied upon and they decide to meet again next week to see if they can work out a deal and rekindle their old flame. Anything is better than having Ingriat or the frenchy Bloody Nicole tell them how to behave.
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With my deep apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein for plagiarizing so badly what is in my opinion the best Broadway musical ever. Then again, if I did not love South Pacific so much I would not have even been able to try my heavy hand at spoofing it.