Creative Cauldron at ArtSpace presents The Little Prince, based on the book by Antione de Saint Exupery, with music by Rick Cummins and book and lyrics by John Scoullar. Directors Denise Perrino and Matt Conner (who also choreographed the production) lead a group of young actors in this poetic adaptation of a classic French story.
The creative team builds a solid foundation for the story; Scenic Designer Margie Jervis transforms the stage into the sandy Sahara Desert, using two simple sloped ramps to give the actors some height and flexibility. A projection screen is used as the backdrop, where illustrations which are central to the plot are shown throughout the show. Lighting Designer John Sami sticks with dimmed blues and gold for the most part, though there are some great opportunities for effects (I particularly liked how the lights flickered ominously while an airplane was experiencing some turbulence). Jervis is also in charge of the wardrobe for this production, and overall I found them quite quirky and cute. The array of costumes was very wide–talking flowers, taffeta volcanoes, and even a king in a spangled cape made their way across the stage– but my favorite was the Little Prince himself, who was very memorable in his choppy blonde wig and oversized, bright blue dinner jacket.
The technical elements of this show all worked together seamlessly, though there was one that stood above the rest. Musical Director Warren Freeman melded the music with the story perfectly. For a story that is largely about the imagination of childhood and the wacky tales that come with it, the music was surprisingly sophisticated and graceful, and took the story to another level with its richness and depth.
When a weary Aviator (Matt Greenfield; the lone adult actor in the entire ensemble) crash-lands his plane in the Sahara Desert, he begins to reminisce about his childhood. Once happy drawing pictures, his imagination was smothered by discouraging adults who couldn’t understand his work, and as a result, he abandoned his creativity into adulthood and instead embraced the melancholy and mundane. As the Aviator mourns the loss of his inner child while attempting to fix his plane, a peculiar little man from another planet pays him a visit…and changes his life forever.
Constance Meade played The Little Prince at my production, and she was just wonderful! The Prince shares tales of his travels through the galaxies; stories full of interesting characters and circumstances. Colter Adams did a great job as a harried Lamplighter in the song “The Days Go So Quickly”, Lauren Buford got many laughs from the audience as the eccentric Conceited Man with her number “Admire Me,” and Isabella Flora was hypnotic as a slithering Snake, amongst others.
I especially loved Anna Brotman-Krass’ performance as Rose, awed and excited with her new world in the song “What a Beautiful,” only to become more complicated as she grows and matures, shown in the sad song, “I Love You, Goodbye.” Her relationship with the Prince is a steady focal point in a show that spans many different worlds (literally!).
The Little Prince is largely about re-connecting with your inner child. The Aviator has a great number called “Some Otherwhere,” where he realizes that he lost his youthful sense of wonder– a loss that he grieves. The Prince recaptures a bit of it in the song “Fly Away,” with a flock of bird puppets soaring over and around the audience (beautifully done and very memorable). Overall, the acting was solid and showed some real brewing talent, though the cast was very young, and it needs to be considered that they are still growing and developing their vocals and craft.
I enjoyed myself at Creative Cauldron at ArtSpace’s production of The Little Prince. While lauded as a children’s show, it is also poignant and profound, which is a bit of a rarity in this genre, and it made for an interesting and memorable evening.
Running Time: 90 minutes, without an intermission.
The Little Prince plays through June 21, 2015 at Creative Cauldron at ArtSpace– 410 South Maple Avenue in the Pearson Square Bldg, Falls Church, VA. For tickets, call (703) 436-9948 or purchase them online.