Review: THE LITTLE PRINCE: Reimagined

by Lynn on March 30, 2019

in The Passionate Playgoer


At the Streetcar Crowsnest, Carlaw and Dundas, Toronto, Ont.


Translated and adapted by Richard Lam

From the novel “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Directed and sound design by Jon Lachlan Stewart

Production designed by Anahita Dehbonehie

Lighting by Wes Babcock

Puppet consultant and builder, Kira Hall

Cast: Kira Hall

Richard Lam

A charming, smart, really imaginative re-working of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 classic story of the imagination, tenacity and innocence of youth that’s passed on to an impatient adult.

 The Story. A pilot crashes in the desert and discovers a young boy who asks him to draw a picture of a sheep. The pilot does and soon learns that the boy is from a tiny planet in which the only vegetation is a rose.  The rose is so demanding about the boy’s care of it, (watering etc.)  that the boy leaves to explore other planets, Earth being one.  The pilot begins to refer to the boy as the Little Prince.  Along the way the Little Prince leads the adult pilot to use his imagination, be more whimsical, see colour where there might not be any.

The Production. It’s terrific.  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novel has been translated and adapted by Richard Lam, who also plays the pilot among others. Each program has a blank sheet of paper in it. Richard Lam enters the space wearing a pilot’s jumpsuit and a scarf jauntily wrapped around his neck and shoulder.

He starts the production by showing us all how to create our own paper airplane with the blank piece of paper in the program.  We make the planes and are then invited to fly them at him at centre stage.  So immediately we enter the world of make-believe, whimsy and imagination.

The set by the wonderful Anahita Dehbonehie is a white circle on the floor.  At the back are paper structures including a large triangular piece of paper that could look like a folded wing of a plane.

Richard Lam as the pilot is wide-eyed and curious.  Kira Hall as the Little Prince wears the same kind of pilot jumpsuit with jaunty white scarf, a curly blonde wig and a dusting of white powder on her face that gives it an otherwordly look to her appearance.  Ms Hall has created all the puppets seemingly out of paper and material.  Together they are charming, curious, earnest and very committed to the project.

There is clever use of light and shadow (thank you Wes Babcock)  reflected on one of the paper formations at the back of the stage. Snakes appear out of no where, things lurk in the shadows.

The director, Jon Lachlan Stewart directs with a wonderful imagination that can create such magical stuff that goes with this whimsical, serious comedy. It’s all wonderful fun and yet serious.

The company producing this is Puzzle Pieces. The Little Prince: Reimagined is their first production. More please.

Comment. The ‘re-imagined” aspect involves references to things that occupy us today, such as the devotion/addiction to cell-phones, the internet, self-promotion etc.  Honestly, I don’t think a re-imagining is needed. This is a deep, complex classic that deals with greed, bullying, pomposity and using the imagination. The re-imagining to include such superficial but troubling inventions seems irrelevant since what The Little Prince is dealing with is so relevant. But that’s a quibble.

Since this is a new company, may I make a few suggestions? Please put the name of the theatre, the dates of your run and if room, how people can get tickets on the cover of your program. That would be helpful.

Produced by Puzzle Piece Productions.

Began: March 27, 2019.

Closes: April 13, 2019.

Running Time: 90 minutes, approx.

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