The Awe of Childhood : The Little Prince and The Rose

The Awe of Childhood : The Little Prince and The Rose Image

By Joel Benjamin Ntwatwa

Children are easy to please…at least I believe so but it takes the heart of a child to get them there. Inasmuch as theatre is very much part of children’s lives, we relegate it to other forms – animations, movies etc. Yet theatre is very much a form of art that children love and understand.

The Little Prince and The Rose is an adaptation of The Little Prince by Saint-Exupéry. It can be called a children’s work but to be honest, the underlying themes are very much adult and very philosophical.

However, since the actor was dressed as a clown and utilised things like balloons and drawings, let’s take this as a production that suits children well. Thinking about that I am still wondering how this work of Saint-Exupéry could be interpreted as children’s.

The only element that I feel changes in this production is that the pilot is now the flower. And the little Prince is having conversations with the flower. Conversations that do take us into the boundless mind of a child, full of imagination, lacking limitation, humble, playful and fully honest. I guess here I concede it is meant for the children.

The actor, did very well in engaging the audience which was mostly full of children and us adults who have a vestige of childhood left in them (read that with a smirk). His movements – playful and happy, his childlike voice – soft and full of wonder, his costume – friendly and welcoming. He was the kind of clown that invited and did not push away like some clowns we know.

The conversations about the drunkard, the rich man, the King, are so dreamy if one could float off the ground while watching the play, they would. However, more interesting were the conversations with the fox and the snake. I wonder, did the kids get it when the fox talked of the heart and how some things adults will never get? How about going off to other planets, did they understand it?

Nonetheless, the kids, they laughed, jumped and seemed to enjoy themselves, receiving cards from the clown after.

I am divided about this production, still wondering whether it is for kids or adults because I enjoyed it because of its underlying themes and fun (but more the kids’ enjoyment of it) and the kids also enjoyed it. My resolution would be, catch the next showing with your little princes and princesses and enjoy the awe and wonder of childhood together which I suspect was the intention of the original writer and was well executed by the actor as well as his director.

Photos : James Wasswa

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