The Little Prince | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Little Prince 

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The Little Prince, Lamp Lighter Theatre Company, at Stage Left Theatre. Antoine de Saint-Exupery's little prince is the original brother from another planet. He fell to earth from an asteroid and--like Gulliver, Dorothy, or a Joseph Campbell hero--brushes up against enough dysfunctional personalities in his travels to convince him there's no place like home.

The Little Prince isn't so much a story for children as for adolescent girls who've had a year of French. It appeals to the same crowd that thought Michael Jackson was sexy in Thriller and chose Paul over John every time. Decode the Francais, and the true meaning of life is revealed in Saint-Exupery's fortune-cookie aphorisms. Read it in English, and you've got Tuesdays With Morrie starring an androgyne.

It comes as no surprise then to discover that this production was adapted and translated by newly minted director Alexis Williams, now one year out of Northwestern's theater program. Apparently it's been a whirlwind year. So busy, in fact, there's been no time to learn, a la screenwriting guru Robert McKee, that two hours of almost uninterrupted exposition makes for a great bedtime story (the true metier of the Saint-Exupery classic) but not a three-dimensional performance piece. Notwithstanding Williams's creative use of minimalist props and trippy chants, this show is essentially a radio play--a dreamy snoozer.


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