By Paige Shermis
Transporting its audience across a vast, lonely universe, Brave Potatos production of The Little Prince sported a lively script and solid performances that proved to be a faithful adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exuprys beloved 1943 novella.
As in the book, the play, adapted by Libby Gardner 15 and director Tim Jurney 15, details the story of an aviator, whos, after crashing in the Saharan desert, who meets a mysterious young prince who has traveled to Earth from his tiny asteroid. The prince details to the aviator the funny and philosophical circumstances which have led him to come to Earth, which involve his travel to other small asteroids to visit their denizens.
What was first striking about this show was the lighting design by Charlie Diserens 15 ropes of string lights hung from the rafters of the Black Box like vines, lighting up in a veritable kaleidoscope of colors used to note each new planet and the bright yellow of the Sahara desert sun. The sparse set design by Audrey Nation 15 suited the unearthly tone of the play well. Unfortunately, those seated in the back of the Black Box could not admire the scenery; this can be chalked up to the nature of the venue.
Jurney applied impeccable casting to his show, which seemed to be a labor of love. Kyle Aaronson 15, donning a shirt patterend with hand-drawn airplanes, was great as the aviator, whose care for the innocent Prince is fed by his own, well-portrayed, suppressed childhood dreams of becoming an artist. The gender-bending casting of Erin Ginsburg 15 was successful; in playing a young boy, the female Ginsburg conveyed the correct level of earnest precociousness that may have been difficult for a post-pubescent male to achieve.
The skill of the four secondary cast members should not be ignored. Rachel Cunningham 14 was magnificently needy as the Princes beloved Rose, which blew onto his asteroid. Adam Zaremsky 15 drew laughs from the mostly-packed audience as an asteroids solitary resident, who (clearly eroneously) believed himself to be king of the universe. Jane Jongeward 14 was appropriately blustery as a Business Man who counted the stars and stored this information in a desk drawer for an imagined profit.
Olivia Sterling 16 shone as the Fox, whom the Prince meets soon after landing on Earth. Sterling successfully delivered some of the novellas and the plays most famous platitudes, such as You become responsible forever, for what you have tamed, and What is essential is invisible to the eye.
The plays material was probably puzzling to those unfamiliar with the novellas plot, as much of the dialogue between the Little Prince and the figures he encounters is highly abstract in nature. These theoretical conversations, however, were balanced nicely by Aaronsons more concrete monologues on the overly-pragmatic and dull nature of grown-ups.
Overall, the play had an experimental-theater feel, which helped it to stand out in a theater-filled season. For those who had read the novella, it served as a loving adaptation, and for those had not, it was a worthy initiation.