Act One

The scene opens on a beautiful, secluded island in the South Pacific, in the 1940s at the height of the Second World War. On the terrace of a splendid plantation home, two young children are singing and playing together ("Dites-Moi"). The children are half-Polynesian, half-European. The children’s nurse calls them inside, and Ensign Nellie Forbush and Emile de Becque come to sit on the terrace. Nellie is a U.S. Navy Nurse stationed on the island, a naive but feisty young lady from Little Rock, Arkansas. Emile de Becque is a worldly, wealthy, middle-aged French expatriate who owns and lives on a plantation on the island. Despite having known each other for only two weeks, they have fallen in love and are sharing a romantic evening. Nellie tells Emile about how the rest of the fleet hospital thinks she’s odd for being so cheerful all the time ("A Cockeyed Optimist"). They haven’t actually confessed their love to one another yet, and, separately,

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