I love Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s story of The Little Prince. It’s a simple “children’s” book, but speaks about what really matters in life. The book is a particular favorite of mine, so I was delighted to see that the stage version was coming to Calgary. Tom and I went last night.
I was immediately disappointed. The Little Prince was played by a twenty-something young lady. I’m sorry, is the title not the Little PRINCE? They called her “him,” and referred to her as “Prince,” but she never believed she was a boy, so I couldn’t.
She never stood like a boy prince, legs apart, hands on hips, but simply stood with hands at her sides, and seemed to wander aimlessly around the stage, and when she did gesture, it was with female hands. Tromping around in large boots didn’t her character make. In addition, her royal robes were silver and girlie (like something that Bowie would have worn in glam rock opera), and her blond wig looked like blunt-cut wheat.
She simply didn’t look like a little prince. Imagine King Joffrey from Game of Thrones blended with a young Angela Lansbury, and very feminine and gentle.
There is a magic about pre-teen boys that enchants me. A vitality, a hope, a mischief that I love. They stand on the brink of adulthood, with one foot in childhood and one wavering over the threshold of reality, still in touch with magic and mystery. A twenty-something young woman is an entirely different creature … and so the show failed for me from the get-go.
The lead actress had a wonderful voice, but was a soprano. I ached for the sound of a young boy’s voice, as the songs ache for the same. The longing of a young boy for love is exquisitely different from the longing of a young woman.
Other than that, it was a marvelous production, making use of a bare black stage, minimalist props, and eye-popping costumes. The actor who played the Pilot was excellent, as were the women who played the Snake, the Fox, and the Rose. (One quibble with the snake: the actress was buff, and moved like a warrior, upright and unbending. Snakes slither, my dear. They are sinuous, conniving creatures, not dominatrices. Though, I will say, in the last scene she did become marvelously sinuous, at last!)
I will go see the show again at some point. I think the show could be marvelous. This was a good production, but it simply wasn’t The Little Prince for me.