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Prince in a Black Box

French aviator and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic novella

Written by Dipanita Nath | Published: July 31, 2013 12:06:16 am

French aviator and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic novella,The Little Prince,is not the easiest work to adapt to the stage,wrapped as it is in layers of meanings about love,loss and loneliness that seem better imbibed through words than action. Theatre director Deepan Sivaraman,who is also Associate Professor at the School of Culture and Creative Expression at Ambedkar University,chose to stage The Little Prince for exactly this reason. “It’s an allegory of a contemporary materialistic world,about people who live alone in their own planets and consider themselves powerful,” says Sivaraman.

In the play,the pilot (played by Pratheek Singh) of a plane that has crashed in the Sahara meets a young boy from another planet. The boy,called the Little Prince (played by different actors),has travelled through many planets and has interesting stories to tell of a king with no subjects,a geographer who is so busy hoarding books that he has no time to explore the real land masses,and a frisky wolf among others.

Propped up by student musicians and smart set designs,the young actors juggled their roles with elan,and apart from the insipid ending,held the audience in its grip. This was an achievement as the cast and crew were up against a heavy odd — the wrong venue. The play was staged at the university’s Black Box Studio Theatre — a basement hall that had neither fans nor air-conditioning. As it poured outside and the temperature rose,the audience fanned itself furiously even as it kept its eyes on the action on stage.

The play will be staged at Ambedkar University on August 1 and 2 at 4 pm and 6.30 pm,respectively.

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