Double vision

The Little Prince

By Rick Cummins and John Scoullar
Based on the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Directed by S. Barton-Farcas
Nicu’s Spoon
Pelican Studio Theatre
750 8th Ave (between 46th and 47th)
Non-union production (closes July 31st)
Review by Michael D. Jackson

It is hard to know how effective Rick Cummins and John Scoullar’s adaptation of the classic The Little Prince actually is from the new production by Nicu’s Spoon Theatre Company. The main problem is that the Prince himself has the majority of the speaking duties, and he was rather tricky to follow. It is a huge role. Without having read the program beforehand, a spectator might be astonished that the young actor at the helm managed to nail all that dialog. The trick lay in the clever casting of twins, Angela Rose and Maria Rose Popovic, who traded off scenes. Neither one, however, had clear diction or a projecting voice; thus, most of the play was lost.The story concerns itself with a most popular message of children’s literature, told to children, but meant for adults: don’t forgo your capacity to dream and to use your imagination. The Little Prince learns this and other simple life lessons on his journey from planet to planet, until he runs into the Aviator (played clearly and honestly by Bart Mallard), an adult who yearns for the open curiosity and honesty of the child. Stranded in the desert from a plane crash, the Aviator listens to the Prince relate his many tales and life lessons.Acting out the Prince’s adventures was an able ensemble, dressed in black, with additions of costume pieces as needed for each character they transformed into. They might all produce twigs and become a forest, or hold hoops with sewn-on fabric petals to their faces to become an animated flower garden. Green stockings slid up the arms and a broad collar transformed one player into a rose, while a red fur vest and headband ears created the fox character. There was a lot of inventive work here, given the limited resources and space. Costume designer Jessica Lane was to be commended for her creativity, as was director S. Barton-Farcas for the vivid pictures and fluid flow of the production.Not being able to grasp a good deal of the dialogue was a major hindrance to the enjoyment of the piece, however. This unfortunate downfall made an otherwise colorful endeavor, suitable for the kids, into a bit of a chore to sit through. Still, for a play about the importance of the imagination and dreams, this production lived up to its mantra by demonstrating great imagination. If the company had creative challenges facing them, they tackled them head-on.An original underscore was composed by Damon Law, adding mystery if not lending a defining musical character to the production. The agile ensemble was rounded out by Alvaro Sena, Jyotsna Du Ciel, Hannah Oberman-Breindel, Erwin P. Falcon, Clarice Allee, and Sheera Gefen.

Box Score:

Writing: 2
Directing: 2
Acting: 1
Set: 0
Costumes: 2
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2005 Michael D. Jackson