It’s rare that a piece of theater can be equally appropriate, not to mention adored, by audiences ages 7 to 77+, but The Little Prince is precisely that show. Based on the classic French children’s book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Hang a Tale takes this timeless story of love and friendship and transforms it to magic on the stage.
Now, as some of you long time blog followers may recall, as a favorite book from my childhood and also the epicenter of my now-husband’s proposal story, The Little Prince has a special place in my heart–so if anyone is going to be particular about the reproduction of this show from page to stage, it’s going to be me. It’s a tricky thing–to take a well-loved story and make it come to life even more in the theater than it does in one’s own imagination, especially a tale so well-known and read as this one. Was Hang a Tale Productions able to do it? The answer, my fellow theater lovers, is not only did they do it, they nailed it. It’s like they were able to get into my own head, how I had visualized the story to unfold during every read over the years, and they projected that right onto stage–truly magic and magical.
If you’re not familiar with the storyline, I encourage you to run out and read the book–but in the meantime will do a quick story overview. A pilot is stranded in the middle of the desert after his plane crashes. Suddenly, a small little person appears from another planet, asking the pilot to draw him a sheep. (Thankfully, our pilot was once a budding artist, before he grew up and went for a more practical career in aviation. Ahh, grown-ups.) A friendship quickly emerges, in which the pilot asks the little person, (who we learn is the little prince), what led him to earth. The little prince tells him the adventures that led him to where he is–recounting stories of friendship, love, and perhaps most importantly, tales that remind you to never forget the wonder and awe of life as you get older. The key theme of the story can be broken down into one line: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Tarah Flanagan, who plays the role of the prince, seriously seemed as if she was born with the sole purpose to execute this role to perfection. She reminded me of a little pixie bouncing around the stage, wide eyed and filled with curiosity, reciting lines about how “all grown-ups were once children…but only few of them remember it.” The aviator was also played by a human actor (strange to say it that way, eh?), Christopher Gerson, and the rest of the characters were depicted by the ensemble of actors and actresses navigating giant puppets around the stage.
Such a gorgeous production–I encourage you to run, not walk, to the box office and scoop up tickets to this timeless story. Bravo, Hang a Tale Productions, bravo!
p.s. in case you missed it, here’s our visit to The Morgan Library last year when The Little Prince was on display!