A visual feast
The Little Prince
The Little Prince is a little book with big messages. It’s a children’s tale loved by adults. It’s simple in narrative but filled with complex meanings. It’s also a book full of whimsical drawings brought to life in a visually dramatic theatrical piece by the Sacramento Theatre Company (STC). This philosophical fable can be enjoyed on many levels, but the secret is not to worry about finding a deeper truth. Instead, just sit back and enjoy this odd story about a lonely, intergalactic prince’s search for companionship.
Written by French author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in 1943, the story opens with a highly creative young boy frustrated with the adult world’s lack of imagination. He eventually grows up to be a pilot who learns to suppress his childish wonders.
The pilot crashes his plane in the Sahara, and in his wanderings, he meets a young boy with an amazing tale of travel. The boy is the prince and only inhabitant of a very small planet, and he’s on a quest for enlightenment.
STC’s show illuminates the little prince’s adventures here on Earth and on various other planets. The play is a little longer than one hour, which is perfect for the attention span of the younger members of the audience. However, this shortened version abbreviates musings and plot, so it feels choppy and disjointed at times.
If deeper meanings escape audience members, they’ll still be captivated by the colorful costumes, and the imaginative props and backdrops. This Little Prince is a picture book brought to life in beautiful, 3-D glory. Major kudos to the set and costume designers.
This show is also a chance for young performers to shine. It’s the debut of STC’s Young Professional Company (STC-2), which is made up of 20 talented young actors between 12 and 19 years old. Though most of the troupe members play supportive roles, there are some gifted young actors who take on key characters, including the two remarkable young women who trade off portraying the young prince (Rebecca Clouse and Paige Silvester).
In the aviator role, Mark K. Miller manages to be accessible without being patronizing, lending a quiet reserve to the part of the grownup who yearns to rediscover his inner child.
In a nice touch for both young audience members and the young performers, there is a meet-and-greet afterward, in which the performers sign autographs for star-struck kids and adults alike.