June 1, 2007

Categories: Past Shows

The little prince

[Le petit prince]

School tour 2007

by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

June to December 2007

Adapted and directed by Karen Berger

Producer Michael Bula

The production

The Little Prince is having trouble getting on with his rose. So he leaves home to learn about life. Encounters with inhabitants of various planets confirm his opinion that grownups are decidedly bizarre. Eventually landing on earth, he takes the time to tame a fox and is rewarded with a secret.He is ready to return home. You don’t have to leave your planet to discover why The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language.

Reviews & compliments

I just wanted to thank you most sincerely for your performance at last Sunday’s school fair. While I understood only a few words (and that’s a very few), the performance seemed very animated and entertaining. The fair was a huge success and I’m sure it was the biggest crowd we have had ever at our fairs. I hope it generated a lot of interest for your theatre group and hopefully some ticket sales for your upcoming play. It was good to see your actors hanging around afterwards – hopefully a sign that they enjoyed the afternoon also. Thanks again.

Christine Shearer CPS 02/03/2008

I wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed the play. The acting was excellent and the poetry of the book was beautifully rendered. So thank you again for your efforts and we look forward to seeing your next performances next year. What is on the agenda for 2008? I have already thanked the actors but please pass on our congratulations to them again.

Nicky Smith, PLC 05/12/2007

I am writing to Me Bula to congratulate him for the wonderful, wonderful “Petit Prince” the MFT has put on stage: we loved every minute of it! It was a tremendous success, and I felt awful having been let down but all three of our guests !!! To you all, best wishes for the next season.

Isabelle Robertson, former Consul General of France in Melbourne 04/12/2007

My husband and I along with a group of friends went to see Le Petit Prince last night (28/11) and I just wanted to express my deep appreciation for a beautiful show. I especially appreciate how the show transmitted the feeling of the book so tenderly, simply and accurately – especially the little prince himself. I left with a very warm feeling and I cannot imagine another show/production superseding yours. Merci beaucoup!

Sandra Hernandez 30/11/2007

Thank you so much to you and the actors who came all the way to Warrnambool to give their captivating performance of “Le Petit Prince”. Not only were they lovely, friendly people but they were very effective actors who did a terrific job, especially given the poor acoustics of the hall. They managed to engage the students, even though it was the end of the day and some of them were Year 8 sports-minded boys, not continuing French next year, who were feeling disappointed they were missing the running of the Melbourne Cup. I really hope that you consider bringing another French performance to country schools next year. It was a wonderful opportunity. And next time, hopefully, we will be able to use our better hall at the other campus.

Tracy Edge, Emmanuel College 09/11/2007

We were thrilled with the performance at school today. The boys loved it and it has had very positive reviews from them. The actors were great, and I look forward to hearing what you may have on offer next year.

Adrienne Beer, Melbourne Grammar 07/11/2007

The students of French and Drama at Camberwell Girls were treated to a slice of French theatre, when the actors of the Melbourne French Theatre Company visited our school to perform Le Petit Prince. With only four cast members, Antoine de Saint- Exupéry’s tale of the strange little man from planet B-612, was brought to life in a mixture of French and English. Concerning the story of a pilot who crashes his plane in the Sahara, the tale begins with the little prince demanding that the pilot ‘dessine-moi un mouton’. As they become friends, the little prince recounts his tale of the planets he has visited on his way to Earth, populated by strange characters such as the conceited man, the king without a kingdom and the geographer who has never seen his planet Both the little prince and the pilot are disillusioned by the adult world and share a similar belief in the importance of imagination and creativity which are ignored by the peculiar ‘grandes personnes’. As he retells his journey, the prince realises the necessity of returning to his planet and the rose he has tamed, leaving us with a lesson on the importance of seeing with the heart as well as the eyes. The performance was especially resonant for the Year 12 French students who have been studying the text throughout the year. We would like to thank the Melbourne French Theatre Company for their wonderful performance and Madame Salton for organising the event.

Article, Camberwell Girls Grammar 05/09/2007

I was so touched by the performance today. Thank you. Lovely comments from some of the teachers who attended, too. And I’ve just received a gorgeous email from one of my year 12 students who is analysing Le Petit Prince as one of her texts for this final sequence of work in Year 12 French. She said she loves the text all the more as a result of having seen the play today. The Grade 5 and 6 students did some preparatory work using sheets from the Teachers Pack you sent, and their teacher said that they responded really well to the material. Thank you for that, too. I’ve just emailed the students who were taking photos for the newsletter and the magazine, and will forward you copies as soon as I get them.

Bronwyn Salton, Camberwell Girls Grammar 05/09/2007

Show poster

Congratulations again on a most sensitive, engaging and professional production. We enjoyed it enormously. It was amusing, moving and profound à la fois. Hopefully the play will appear at Eildon Mansion later in the year and I will have the pleasure of seeing it again. I wish the cast a successful and enjoyable tour of Victoria.

Anne Stapleton 28/06/2007

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is a unique and lovely little book that is beloved by readers and secondary school French teachers all over the world. With its simple language and fable-like structure it tells a whimsical and bitter-sweet story of childhood, love and responsibility towards others. Melbourne French Theatre Inc. has created a new touring stage production of the book which captures its naïve charm through a clear adaptation, attractive staging and good performances. Despite its deceptively simple language, any VCE French student can tell you that Le Petit Prince is quite a wordy little book and its episodic structure can be hard to trudge through. Director and writer Karen Berger’s adaptation avoids the many lengthy monologues and explanatory passages, telling the story instead through dialogue and the most essential character driven scenes. The Little Prince’s outward and internal journeys are made clearer as a result, and the audience is rewarded with more comedy and pathos than productions which try to squeeze in more of the original text.

One of the challenges of Le Petit Prince, as a story and as a character, lies in being able to capture its childlike whimsy without slipping into icky sentimentality. This production achieves it through simplicity and a sense of comic lightness which makes the Little Prince’s end all the more touching. Tirese Ballard’s design is attractive and looks to be practical for touring. It retains the flavour of the book’s original cartoonish illustrations but adds a level of pretty theatricality. I particularly liked the pert floral head piece worn by Fleur Dean for the Rose. The night I saw the show there was a bit of fumbling with back drop changes but no doubt that will be fine with more practice. The device of a small Prince-figure flying around the backdrop’s planets to represent his journey was workable but a bit repetitive and flat. The other puppetry moment, with a long hand-puppet snake, also needs work in the lip-synching and manipulation departments. The proscenium arch stage in the very cold North Fitzroy St Brigid’s hall was disconcertingly distant at first, but the few moments where characters jumped off the stage and addressed the audience directly worked well and will probably tickle high school audiences too. In any case, being further back made it easier to take in the English surtitles which were projected onto a screen to the right of the stage. About two thirds of the play was in French, but the monolingual eight year olds who saw the show with me had no trouble keeping up with the translations while still taking in all the action. The play’s success is mostly due to the uniformly excellent performances, though. David Adamson, Fleur Dean and Christophe Le Tellier are all funny and assured in their various multiple roles and Sarah Blard’s Little Prince is touchingly direct and innocent. It’s hard to know how teenage audiences will respond to any show, let alone one that has the strong feel of a fairy tale, but I think the comedy and sincerity of these performances will win them over. They may even find themselves chuckling at the Drunkard’s logic, as was my daughter – “Yes, grown-ups really are very strange!”

Jennifer Anderson, Arts Hub 27/06/2007

Nous avons beaucoup apprécié la pièce et nous vous disons, en choeur et de tout coeur, FELICITATIONS!

Jennifer Lyon, Clonard Catholic College 27/06/2007

I was at the performance on Monday and thoroughly enjoyed the play. I look forward to your visit to Ballarat (Damascus college)

Maureen Myers, Damascus College 27/06/2007

Avec tout mon respect et admiration non seulement pour le travail que tu fais mais pour la passion et la foi qui t’animent a continuer a développer cet outil artistique qui devient peu à peu une œuvre d’art en soi même coute que coute….j’ai la vision que tu vas t’entourer prochainement de gens influents et affluents qui te seconderont financièrement dans tes objectifs culturels et te suivront dans ton pèlerinage culturel pour faire hommage a la France au bout du monde.

Catherine Jackson-Grose 18/05/2007

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