Oxford University Dramatic Society will present “The Little Prince” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2011. Written by Theo Merz, the play is based on a novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
“A group of 1940s schoolchildren encounter the Pilot, recently returned from the War. He tells of meeting a mysterious boy in the shadow of his burnt-out plane, which was crashed in the desert. Gradually, the company respond to the Pilot and this Little Prince as they take on the identities of those he meets along the way. Childhood and adulthood, fantasy and reality merge as the Prince and the Pilot search for what is essential.
“Since its publication in 1943, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s novella has sold over 80 million copies worldwide, and been translated into over 190 languages. Originally written for children, its statements on love and growing up have endeared it to young and old alike. This production aims to recreate the book’s blend of adult experience and make-believe, as the Prince’s magical journey enables the Pilot to see with the heart. The design takes inspiration from de Saint-Exupery’s iconic illustrations, and will use hat-stands, dressing-up boxes and blackboards to construct new worlds with the feel of 1940s childhood.”
Director Rafaella Marcus brought the British premier of Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey to packed audiences and rave reviews at the Oxford Playhouse. She told The Global Herald:
“Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novella, The Little Prince, is one of the most-translated, best-selling and best-loved stories of all time. It is a story that many of us read as children, and embraced it as a fairytale. It is also a story that many of us read again as adults and marvel at its poignancy, depth and philosophy.
“It is, perhaps, the quintessential ‘children’s book for adults’ and it is only fitting that it should be treated as a children’s play for adults. At the heart of our adaptation of The Little Prince, there are two aims: to create something that the audience will enjoy as they enjoyed things in childhood – with a sense of wonderment – and to create something that provokes adult thought, debate and discussion, appealing to the dilemmas and sensibilities of our working lives.
“I have loved The Little Prince since childhood, and the opportunity to share this story with children and adults alike is brilliant. To me, the project is a challenging and exciting way to showcase the best of Oxford’s acting talent, demanding detailed, naturalistic portraits of children alongside a willingness to take risks and be experimental with their storytelling.
“It is not a light, simple, fluffy show – it is complex, poignant, dark at times, but overall a magical story that deserves to be told in a new way, sure to be relished and remembered by every kind of audience member.”
The Little Prince features the University’s brightest acting talents and a critically acclaimed production team. Writer Theo Merz brought Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop to the Oxford Playhouse in 2010, the first student playwright in recent years to create a show for the city’s main stage. Designer Rachel Beaconsfield Press’ work includes productions at the Royal Opera House and at the South Africa Fringe Festival.
The Pilot – Ziad Samaha
The Prince – Lucy Fyffe
Rose/The Rose – Jessica Norman
Susan/The Lamplighter/The Fox – Rachel Bull
Margaret/The Alcoholic – Mary Flanigan
James/The King – Jordan Waller
George/The Businessman – Lloyd Houston
William/The Geographer/The Snake – Alex Jeffery
Director – Rafaella Marcus
Adaptation – Theo Merz
Designer – Rachel Beaconsfield Press
Lighting – George Harding
Producer – Jack Peters
Venue: C Soco Studio 2a, Chambers Street and Cowgate, EH1 1HR
Dates: 3rd – 29th August 2011
Time: 15:45 – 17:00 BST
Ticket prices: £8.50 – £10.50/ concessions £7.50 – £9.50/ children £5.50 – £7.50