The Little Prince – Smock Alley – Review by Frank L.
6 – 10 Nov | 8pm | 3pm on 10 Nov | Boys’ School
The Little Prince was published in French in 1943. It was written by aviation pioneer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry who himself was lost over the Sahara Desert in 1944, presumed dead. The book has been translated into many languages and remarkably sells about two million copies every year. While originally treated as a children’s book, because of its philosophical content it is now seen as a book for all ages.
The set consists of a large rectangular walled sand pit, six bricks high, which takes up almost the entire stage. Seated within the pit is Conor Duffy (the Aviator), while Grainne Good (Rose), Caoimhe O’Malley (Fox) and Des Early (Snake) are arranged outside the pit together with Conor Miley who will play a multiplicity of roles. The performance begins when Gary Clarke (the Little Prince) enters and steps over the wall into the pit where the Aviator is sitting. The script then goes into the various happenings that occur in de Saint-Exupéry’s classic.
The different worlds that need to be created to tell these happenings are wide-ranging but O’Raw and his creative team, through wisdom or necessity use minimal props. This allows the imagination to take over.
Naturally the main burden of the performance falls on Gary Clarke as the Little Prince. He is central to almost every scene. His physical attributes of a slight but tall frame, pale skin and flowing Titian-coloured red hair give him a natural sense of innocence. His entire performance was gentle like that of a contemplative child. At all times he was in command of his text and delivered his lines with a measured confidence. Each of the other members of the cast created their characters effectively with Caoimhe O’Malley’s Fox a delicious insight.
In the summary on the website, it is stated that the play will last seventy minutes. In the announcements at the beginning of the performance, this had increased to an hour and twenty-five minutes. In fact, it lasted almost an hour and forty five minutes which felt a little drawn out. The initial seventy minutes duration would have been wiser. As the saving of time is one of the themes on which the Little Prince expresses an opinion the above comment may seem almost heretical. That said, O’Raw and his team have produced an exceedingly worthwhile adaptation of Antoine de Saint Exupery’s classic which is well worth a visit.
Written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
Adapted and Directed by Robbie O’Raw.