Revolving around themes of the wonders of insight through exploration and the dangers of close-mindedness in adults, Antoine de Saint-Exupery's commentary and emotions are expertly translated in the UT Department of Theatre's stage adaptation of the classic French novella "The Little Prince."
With an intimate theater setting and high-quality acting that had the small, yet considerable, audience laughing at one moment and in tears the next, the cast and crew does a great job connecting with each audience member.
Saint-Exupery's story tells about the encounter between a pilot whose plane crashed in the Sahara Desert, and a little prince, an other-worldly child who left his home planet far away.
As the little prince recounts his adventure to Earth to find meaning in his life after finding the pilot, they soon develop a relationship and become close friends.
"I thought it was very character-specific and fantastical," said Chelsea Sparks, senior majoring in theater. "It was visually stunning and they did a good job telling the story."
The pilot, played by Terry Weber, associate professor of theatre, embodies the character of the narrator with his strong prominence on stage and his immediate acquaintance with the audience from the initial start of the play. Weber represents the qualities of the pilot from the story and adds further emotion through his extraordinary performance.
Cory O'Brien-Pniewski, second year theatre graduate student, played the little prince. In Saint-Exupery's original story, the little prince is mysterious and philosophical, always asking questions but never answering any.
O'Brien-Pniewski captures the Little Prince's naïve, innocent perspective that questions responsibilities in life and adults and the way they speak and act.
Adapting a written story into a stage production is not easily done, but the lighting and sound design from the crew made the transposition seamless. Using projection as a key tool for the mood of the play while lighting and sound made the perfect ambience for the words and acting to accompany it, these factors ultimately improved the show.
Kolton Free, junior in College Scholars, appreciated the effort of the crew in lighting and sound design.
"I liked all the technical aspects of the show," Free said. "How they put the lights up above on the top of the theatre as stars and those little things really pulled the show all together."
The Carousel Theatre was the perfect backdrop for the show. Its round shape gave the audience excellent views at every angle and was comfortable and unintimidating for the actors as well. The performance would not have been the same in a larger venue; the small stage ultimately elevated the story of "The Little Prince" and made it that much more enjoyable to watch.
"The Little Prince" will play at the Carousel Theatre through Oct. 21. For show times and ticket information, visit The Clarence Brown Theatre online at www.clarencebrowntheatre.com.