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The fresh prince of Montreal

by The Concordian October 18, 2011
The fresh prince of Montreal

Dean Patrick Fleming is making the stage adaptation of the beloved children’s book appealing to audiences of different ages.

I’m sitting in the darkened theatre and the first thing I notice is that there are children in the audience. I glance beside me, behind me, and I can’t keep from smiling when I see the excitement on their little faces. I scan through the director’s note and return my attention to the empty stage. I have no idea what to expect. It starts, and it’s perfectly lovely.
Geordie Productions’ season opener, The Little Prince, adapted from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s book by Luciana Burcheri and directed by Dean Patrick Fleming, brings the whimsical story to life at the Centaur Theatre.
Originally published in 1943, the book has sold more than 80 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling books of all time. Geordie’s synopsis describes it as “a simple story filled with profound messages,” and that is just what it is.
When a crash-landed aviator meets a little prince from a far away planet while stranded in the desert, his life is about to change for good. A story filled with imagination and heart, the miniature hero shares his experiences travelling through space and ultimately, helps the aviator discover what is truly important in life.
Artistic director Dean Patrick Fleming calls it “a beautiful story” which can appeal to all types of audiences. Although sometimes qualified as a children’s show, Fleming feels that The Little Prince has a message anyone can appreciate: “We tell our kids one thing and we do another, and I think this book has always tried to remind people what’s important, and that’s love.”
Considering the state of the world today, he believes every once in a while people need to remember what it feels like to be a child again and “[there isn’t] a better story out there to do that than The Little Prince.”
Multiple adaptations of the popular novella have been created for the stage, but when Luciana Burcheri approached Fleming with her version, he knew immediately he wanted to be involved. They had collaborated well together in the past and, as he said, “her passion was to stay true to the book and that was the most important thing to me.”
The show itself features a versatile ensemble cast who pop in and out, stepping from one role to another with admirable speed. The little prince, played by Daniel Brochu, can only be described as an absolute delight and a pleasure to watch from start to finish. The moment he burst onto the stage, his energy was palpable, and his portrayal effortless.
Fleming commented that he has worked with Brochu before and thinks very highly of his skills. “I’ve known Danny forever. When this project came up, he, to me, was the little prince. There was just no doubt about it,” he said.
In the mounting of this production, Fleming wanted to give the book a starring role and he was very aware of the expectations that audiences would have coming in.
“The images from The Little Prince the book are so iconic,” Fleming said, “that you can’t just go and change something or create something completely different.” On the whole, the designers at Geordie managed to create a happy medium with visually engaging and colourful scenery, as well as simplistic yet imaginative costuming choices. 

The Little Prince is being performed at Centaur Theatre, 453 St-François-Xavier St., on Oct. 22 and 23. Tickets are $16 for students. For more information, visit geordie.ca/the-little-prince.

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