African Little Prince
A conversation with the director…
What is The Little Prince about?
At first glance it is the story of a prince who lives on a planet, falls in love with a rose, travels across the universe in search of education where he meets many different characters, lands on the planet earth where he encounters different landscapes and experience and where he meets a pilot in the desert, with whom he shares his last days on earth before traveling back to his planet.
In many ways it is a story about the relationship between adults and children, and the different worlds they inhabit, in their hearts and in their minds. It looks at the difference between what is important in life, and what are simply futile human preoccupations or pursuits. It is also about the nature of love, and the power of friendship. The story essentially asks us to question what we consider to be most important.
What inspired the direction?
The creativity of the performers. Everything in rehearsal began with the idea of ‘play’, we explored the story through inhabiting the world of ‘the child’ and improvised our way through the play as if we were children. This allowed us freedom to explore our imaginations to the full, and eventually gave us a performance style that informed the direction of the whole piece.
And what about man who wrote the original?
Antoine de Saint Exupery was a prize-winning author and pioneering aviator. The man that was born in to an old French Family in 1900 had a hardy spirit of adventure. A man who held fervent ideals of individual freedom and also deeply reflective in nature, Saint Exupery was increasingly disgusted by the European world that created WWII. He wrote The Little Prince during a period of extreme uncertainty and depression. This is what we believe drives the profound sense of searching for meaning that exists beneath the text.
Why another European Classic?
This is one of the world’s most famous stories. It has been said that it is the most-sold book, second to the bible. It transcends cultural, national and social boundaries: this story touches everyone.
Why did you choose Ismael Lo’s music?
His music has a beautiful cosmic atmosphere which is the perfect backdrop to the journey that the prince makes through the universe. There is also a great emotional range in his work.
What makes this production different from other Nanzikambe productions?
The training and preparation for this production was particularly rigorous. The performers have learnt new performance skills in order to transform in to many varied characters and landscapes. The use of masks and dance has been taken to a new level in this production. Bringing masks alive is an art in itself and requires a skillful physical clarity. Before wearing the character masks, we explored many neutral mask exercises to activate expression of the body. Dance plays a key role in this performance, and we are especially grateful for the wonderful training that Sam Moss brought us.
Sam introduced dance principals which are central to theatre making, deepening our understanding of movement, rhythm, tempo, body-tension, space and image, and brought form to our creativity to choreograph the dance elements.
- Melissa Eveleigh
- Maria Kambwiri
- Dipo Katimba
- Aaron Ngalonde
- Mpundu Mjumira
- Mishek Mzumara
- Director: Melissa Eveleigh
- Music by: Ishmeal Lo