Review: ‘Flight’ at Barrow Street Theatre
“Flight,” Ezra LeBank’s reimagined version of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 children’s classic The Little Prince, is the latest in a series of adaptations of the world’s fourth most translated book to various media, which have ranged from plays to films to ballet to opera. “Flight,” however, is more of a sequel that borrows elements from the original as opposed to merely telling the story of a young prince who falls to earth and discovers the meaning of life.
The Little Prince was a story I grew up with, albeit not in the original French but in German as Der Kleine Prinz. Later, in my high school French class, I was thrilled that we had to memorize and recite sections of the book in the original language. I chose Saint-Exupéry’s passage on sunsets, verses that continues to have great meaning to me.
“Flight,” which was first performed at Edinburgh Fringe in 2015, just completed its limited engagement at the Barrow Street Theatre in New York and moves to the aptly named Flight Theater in Long Beach, California on October 8.
This story of a female prince (Cynthia Price) is as much a play as an acrobatic ballet. Indeed the three performers, Ezra LeBank, who wrote the play and serves as both narrator and the other main character, the Pilot, and Taylor Casas, who ably plays multiple roles including a lovable cactus, are able to entrance the audience by using and contorting their bodies to create the various characters and creatures the female prince meets on her journey from island to island.
The adaptation, which takes six years after the Pilot’s first encounter with the Little Prince, makes the story LeBank’s own – and everything is different. The female prince comes from an island, not from asteroid B-612. Instead of planets and asteroids, there are merely islands. Instead of the flower, there is a cactus. Instead of the king who likes to give orders, there is a general who comports himself similarly. Instead of the businessman who counts and owns the stars and doesn’t like interruptions, there is an executive who counts and owns the waves in the ocean and also dislikes interruption. And instead of the tippler who imbibes too much, there is a baker who eats too much.
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