Ensemble brings 'The Little Prince' to its stage
Any parent with Netflix can probably attest to the positive effect the film version of The Little Prince has on children. Engaging storytelling, beautiful animation, and the powerful message mesmerizes kids without the use of superheroes or extravagant special effects.
Ensemble Theatre, continuing its 38th season, is bringing the staged version of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s seminal 1943 novella to Cleveland Heights when “The Little Prince” opens in its Playground Theatre on Dec. 1.
Following the success of last year’s “The Phantom Toll Booth,” Ensemble has brought back director Brittni Shambaugh Addison for its production of “The Little Prince.”
“Before moving to Cleveland I worked as a member of the professional acting company at the Honolulu Theatre for Youth,” Addison said. “The thing about performing or directing for young audiences is they will let you know how they are feeling about the production in the moment. If they are invested, you’ll know. If they are disengaged, you will absolutely know. There is something really beautiful about that honesty.”
“Some people are of the mindset that when doing TYA [theater for youth audiences] you have to ‘talk down’ to the audience or ‘camp it up.’ I strongly disagree,” she said. “Children are brilliant. If you give them a piece of theatrical art that they can relate to and connect with, they will go on the journey with you.”
Written by Rick Cummins and John Scoullar, “The Little Prince” tells the story of a world-weary and disenchanted Aviator whose sputtering plane strands him in the Sahara Desert where he meets a mysterious, regal "little man.” During their two weeks together in the desert, the Little Prince tells the Aviator about his adventures through the galaxy, and all the characters he’s met and lessons he learned from each.
“Ultimately, it is a story of enduring friendship—of looking out for one another and being willing to learn from one another—things that are so important today,” Addison explained. “It is about child-like innocence. It is about hope. It is about the belief that one person really can change the world, just by believing that they can.”
“The Little Prince” runs Dec. 1–10 at Ensemble Theatre, 2843 Washington Blvd. in Cleveland Heights.
For tickets or information, call the box office at 216-321-2930, or visit www.ensembletheatrecle.org.
Tyler Whidden is a playwright and associate artistic director at Ensemble Theatre.