The little Prince in the parks of Montreal

Le petit Prince dans les parcs de Montréal

Photo: Shanti Loiselle
Several male characters are interpreted by women, including the character of the little Prince which is played with assurance by Elizabeth Smith.

On a décor with white, which leaves you guessing at the same time the wings of an airplane and the dunes of the desert, the device of the airman who are experiencing problems — represented by a paper airplane — crashed in a roar mixing music and cries of pain. The driver, distraught, is now the face of a small blond boy dressed in an iconic green costume and a scarf with yellow in it. After the customary introductions, the famous “draw me a sheep” begins the interaction between these two legendary characters.

It is in the park The Fountain full of families that The Trailer has opened its 66th season on June 26 with Asteroid B-612, an adaptation of the Little Prince by Antoine de St-Exupéry. Respectful of the classic text, the author Eric Christmas resumes and a few sentences compelling and keeps the tone both candid and philosophical of the original work. To take some liberties, Christmas slightly changes the characters encountered by the young prince. The king becomes a queen (Helene Durocher), whose arrival is announced by the sound of trumpets, the conceited man becomes a conceited young girl (Simone Latour Bellavance) who exclaims and rejoices to learn that she can cheer herself. The parity between men and women seems to be here recovered since the work published 75 years ago.

The little Prince is a girl

All the more that several male characters are interpreted by women, including the character of the little Prince which is played with assurance by Elizabeth Smith. The meetings are paraded and between the lamplighter (also played by Hélène Durocher), business man (Philippe Robidoux), the vain, the queen, the flower, the fox, and of course the aviator, played with aplomb by Stephen Lou, all graduates of the Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Montréal and Interpretation of the national theatre School of Canada.

Interspersed with music, used to punctuate changes of tables, as to announce the arrival of new characters, the mise en scène de Jean-Simon Traversy — co-artistic director at théâtre Duceppe, who signed for a second year in a row the mise en scene of The Trailer — is invoice very sober. This simplicity has first for effect to leave room for the text of the author and the characters who wear it. The lack of technical effects and extravagant visual prompt as well to listen to what it tells us, to lend an ear, to capture all the poetry and the riches that come from it.

However, this formula has unfortunately, the large defect of his quality. No glare, visual or sound particular, it keeps difficult to the attention of the viewer — especially the one that was installed away from the scene. In fact, presented as well in the open air, the text and the depth of the subject get lost in the many distractions that provides such an environment. Between strollers, a family picnic and vagrancy of children coming and going, the show becomes more of an excuse to meet friends, to dinner with your family an introduction to the text of St-Exupéry. And so, the poetry is lost in the rapid pace of the tables, mixes with the hubbub of the park, which takes over on the show, the latter becoming eventually a decoration in the decoration.

If the idea of getting to know the classic to a new generation is laudable that the adaptation of the text is rigorous and well conducted, the formula, however, remains questionable. You can cheer on the team in The Trailer that plays audacity in presenting such a wealth of philosophical in the heart of the city. But certainly this piece is strong and sensitive, would hear better as a whole in an intimate venue.

A version précécente attributed this text to Mary Labrecque. The author is rather Marie Fradette.

Asteroid B-612

Text : Eric Christmas; directed by : Jean-Simon Traversy; performers : Helen Durocher, Simone Latour Bellavance, Stephen Lou, Philippe Robidoux and Elizabeth Smith. A production of Théâtre La Roulotte, as presented in the parks of the city of Montreal until August 17.