On April 7-9 the Upper School staged four performances of Cummins & Scoullar’s The Little Prince, based on the book by Antoine Saint-Exupéry. This children’s theater style production was led by two student assistant directors who were trying out directing for the first time and a production designer and stage manager who has worked on twelve consecutive shows in our school. It was my pleasure to work with these three along with an ensemble of actors, also veterans and novices, as well as a cohort of stage crew. We gathered impressions of the show, both the process and performance, to include in the program. Please enjoy reading these reflections from the production staff as well as two members of the acting ensemble.
A selection of photos is above. Click here for the complete collection.
A Note from Acadia Weinberg, Student Assistant Director
My relationship to this story has shifted dramatically (no pun intended) since freshman year English class. The complex layering of loss and friendship, vulnerability and love, lies and truth, snakes and hats, death and life––played out so simply and candidly––composes a masterpiece that is now very dear to me. I am honored to have worked with such a fearless and jubilant cast. They are as persistent and determined as baobabs and they embody beauty and share laughter like roses. Each member of the cast and crew has tapped into the whimsy of this tale and I am excited to invite you into the universe they have created.
A Note from Jesse Brooks, Student Assistant Director
Working behind the scenes on a Waynflete play as an assistant student director has been an entirely new experience for me. Having mostly been on the opposite side of the process, it’s beyond amazing to watch a group of actors transform over the course of two months into such a strong ensemble while developing their own characters so deeply. The new respect that I have from seeing the true work and effort put into the play by its crew is also overwhelming—from lighting and sound—to our three stage managers who sit in on every rehearsal. It all serves to prove that theater is impossible without a complete team effort.
A Note from Caroline Kyros, Production Designer and Stage Manager
The most wonderful part of any theatrical process, for me, is seeing all of the individual components come together as the process draws to a close. For The Little Prince, this colliding of creative factors has been especially inspiring, considering the amount of people who had input into the show; director, co-student assistant directors, myself, technical director, lighting designer. All heads were put together to create a magical show full of light, laughter, and perhaps a few tears. The rehearsal process has been full of laughter and fun, and the rediscovery of what it means to be a child; and I believe that the show reflects that.
Reflections from Hibo Abdi on revisiting this story in a new light
I remember sitting quietly in Lorry Stillman’s ninth grade English class exploring the values of the “fall from innocence” in relation to The Little Prince and wondering why this story of a little boy was such an important literary classic.
This year has proven to be one of the most difficult years imaginable and this tale has a new essence. We are all falling from innocence in different rhythms as we acquire knowledge and are inevitably reborn into greater beings. I know now that we are not alone in our suffering. The Little Prince had the care of the Aviator and the Planets as his guides. Waynflete students possess a community of faculty and peers who collectively help every one of us reach a state of rebirth. It might not happen tomorrow or the day after that, but our changed life has a new normal. The Little Prince overcame and so shall we.
Reflections from Bryce Brittingham on his first Upper School show
I’ve noticed throughout my experience as a ninth grade actor for this play that it is built around maturity. The Little Prince leaves the security of his planet and visits others who’ve become so overwhelmed by their work that they don’t understand themselves. Throughout his journey, his values and opinions change, yet he also maintains his core values because he remains strong in his ideals. As a young adult, I feel similar pressure from my peers and authority figures, and I worry I won’t become the person I strive to be. This Prince has given me the strength and assurance to stand proud in who I am today and in the future.