Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Little Prince

The Little Prince is being performed at the Bristol Riverside Theatre, 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, Pa, through February 13. Based on the children’s book by Antoine de Saine-ExupĂ©ry, this production is not one that should be relegated to children only. Produced in association with Monkey Boys Productions, the puppet builders who brought us Avenue Q and Little Shop of Horrors, the show features puppets by multiple Emmy Award-winning designer Michael Schupbach of Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop. The Little Prince leaves his home planet and visits many planets while discovering the not so pleasant idiosyncrasies of man. It is not until he comes to “earth” that he learns his most important lesson: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.  What is essential is invisible to the eye.” He shares his lessons with his friend the aviator, played by Lenny Haas. While the lessons he learns may be insightful, perhaps they are not the most important part of the production. One can not help being enthralled by the magic of the puppetry. The puppeteers are on stage with the puppets and yet, even though they can be physically seen, it is possible to be totally immersed in the story and forget that that the actors who speak for the puppets are even on the stage. Leila Ghaznavi, the alter ego of the Little Prince, morphs into the character.  Her hands are his hands. Although you can see her mouth moving, you are convinced the words come from the Little Prince himself. Michael Schupback gives the fox a delightful personality as the fox explains to the young boy the importance of being tamed. The set cannot be overlooked. It is an excellent example of less is more. At first glance, the stage looks like a circus ring but the sand filled area becomes a desert, and later rises in parts to simulate a mountain chain. It claims an all purpose oval which serves as the sunset, a well, the starry heavens, and a framework for silhouettes of characters speaking off stage. This is a production that you won’t want to miss no matter what your age. For more information or tickets call 215-785-2762 or visit online at