If you’re looking for thoughtful entertainment that’s suitable for children and adults then you should definitely check out the COCA Theatre Company’s current production of The Little Prince based on the classic book by Antoine de Saint Exupery (music by Rick Cummins with book and lyrics byJohn Scoullar). Even if you’ve never read the story, you’ll still be captivated by the whimsical, yet decidedly philosophical, journey of a little boy who travels the stars seeking answers while delivering certain truths. An excellent cast combines professional and non-professional actors who carry this material well. Best of all, there are stunning visual elements and musical numbers that act to enhance the overall experience.
The Little Prince is traveling the universe seeking knowledge and discovering much about the differences between his own planet and the others that he visits. Consistently he finds that those who inhabit other worlds are just too caught up in the business of running them to appreciate their beauty. A chance encounter on Earth with a man known as the Aviator brings them both a bit of enlightenment that will forever change their perspectives.
Michael Harp, so good at The Muny this past season, absolutely sparkles as the Little Prince, delivering his songs with such energy and life that he provides an invigorating presence whenever he’s on stage. Michael Beatty is also sharp as the Aviator, a frustrated artist turned pilot, who’s had to make an emergency landing in the desert. Beatty also displays a fine voice that meshes well with the material. April Strelinger does nice work as the Fox, and her playful attitude acts as a perfect counter balance to the more serious aspects of the show. Patrick Blindauer (King, Business Man, Lamplighter) amuses with his variety of fussy portrayals, and Will Bofiglio does the same with his trio of roles (Conceited Man, Drunkard, Geographer). Kimmie Kid makes a lovely and graceful impression as the Rose, and RhonniRose Mantilla, Halley Stein, Olivia Dudenhoffer, and Grace Knight neatly round out the cast as dancers and members of the ensemble.
Shanara Gabrielle‘s direction is very well conceived and executed. Gabrielle is aided by the extraordinary efforts of Peter and Margery Spack who are responsible for an amazing set and stunning visual projections. Pianist/Conductor Charlie Mueller’s musical direction is spot on, with this pleasant score nicely realized by Mueller, Anna Bird (cello), Colin Healy (guitar/violin), Benjamin Majchrzak (percussion, drums), and Rick Steiling (bass). Lou Bird’s costumes delineate each character, and Maureen Berry’s lighting is evocative and atmospheric.
Do yourself a favor and take the family to see COCA Theatre Company’s production of The Little Prince, it’s genuine delight. It continues through March 14, 2015 at COCA.
While as adults we graduate to books ‘without pictures,’ relying on our imaginations to illustrate what the fictional places and people might look like, humans as a rule are very visual creatures.
Have you ever noticed yourself reading a book and then going back again and again to study the illustrations or the picture on the cover as you wind your way through a delicious tale? The visuals for the story in our hand give our brains a guideline as we read — and give our imaginations a starting point.
The French novella has been translated into more than 250 languages, and this is another — and extremely valuable — translation. And it is about offering a new language to the enormously popular story — the language of the tangible object, where every detail can be patiently explored and understood, bringing the story and the characters to life — delighting those who have had the opportunity to hold the 3D models.3D artist Eva Sbaraini, of London, is driven to give the visually impaired their own alternative visuals for integrating stories with their imaginations in her new project, beginning with her My Mini Factory collection of 3D models from the 1943 classic, The Little Prince. With an array of designs and 3D prints from the story, it’s just the beginning as a first in a series of books she plans to describe and bring to life in 3D print.
Written by artist and adventurer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who was not only an aristocrat but also a writer, poet, and pioneering aviator, The Little Prince holds a beautifully written tale full of poetic words, and also demonstrates the considerable artistic capabilities of Saint-Exupéry with illustrations in watercolor. It was truly meant to be an adult tale, regarding the Prince who falls to Earth from space, and is full of allegory and social statements, and has a deep philosophical bend to it.
While The Little Prince is no stranger to braille in format and translation, the 3D models offer the visually impaired the chance to feel the impressions of the story, from the Little Prince himself to actually illustrating an action from the story, such as that from the opening lines:
“Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest. It was a picture of a boa constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal. Here is a copy of the drawing.”
And from these words, Sbaraini made a striking 3D print of the boa about to the devour the poor little forest creature. We see snakes, sheep, an elephant, and more all depicted in 3D models, as poetic in their artistic nature as the novella itself.
“The initial concept behind transforming the illustations from 2D to 3D is to create resources to improve the experience of literature for the blind and partially sighted through rendering illustrations and graphics from well-known fiction into tactile objects and reliefs,” said Sbaraini on her My Mini Factory page.
With her My Mini Factory collection of 3D prints, the blind and visually impaired are able to ‘read’ and ‘see’ through a tactile world that takes them far into Saint-Exupéry’s fable.
And just as the adventurous Little Prince chose to set out from his tiny planet and explore the rest of the universe, Sbaraini explores the new world of 3D design and 3D printing, still greatly uncharted, in bringing the Little Prince to us in tactile form. With The Little Prince 3D models being a starter project, we look forward to seeing what comes next, and what Sbaraini plans to add to her My Mini Factory collection.
For items like the 3D printed models of animals, Sbaraini used print settings at 0.20mm layer height with 10% infill and no supports. Items like the 3D printed sheep took a little under five hours for 3D printing. All of the files are available for free downloading at My Mini Factory.
Do you know a blind or visually impaired person who would enjoy these 3D models? Are you planning to download any of the files from My Mini Factory? Tell us your thoughts in The Little Prince in 3D Print forum over at 3DPB.com. Check out the video describing the project, as well as more photos, below.
Inspired by the whimsical novel The Little Prince, this is a great game for all ages.
Tender, philosophical and sometimes even melancholic, The Little Prince (1943) by French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is not an easy book to describe. Perhaps that is why the story’s whimsical imagery and illustrations – by the author himself – are better-known than its storyline.
Described alternately as a children’s story and an adult fable, the book tells of a pilot stranded in a desert who meets a “little prince” claiming to have fallen to Earth from a small asteroid. Over the next eight days, the prince tells the pilot more about his home planet, as well as the many strange characters he’s met on his journey to Earth, and what unfolds is a richly allegorical tale that deals with themes of love, loss, materialism, and relationships.
Of course, interpreting such deep and abstract concepts into a board game is a tall order, and The Little Prince: Make Me A Planet doesn’t even try. Instead, this pretty little game, designed by Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathala, simply uses the story’s quirky settings and characters to create a creative and fun playing experience. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it simply means that the game isn’t for you if you prefer something deep and thought-provoking.
That said, there is a fair amount of strategising involved, so don’t write this one off as a lightweight!
Make Me A Planet is well-made game, with de Saint-Exupéry’s artwork being used directly, which should please fans tremendously. The concept is simple. Each player builds a planet for the prince, and different elements give your planet more or fewer points. The person with the highest number of points at the end of the game wins.
The game is primarily made up of four different types of tiles: two kinds of planet corner tiles, planet centre titles, and character tiles.
The corner and centre tiles are illustrated with various elements from the book, such as sheep, elephants, lamp posts, and sunsets. The character tiles feature specific people from de Saint-Exupéry’s tale: The Geographer, The Drunkard, The Businessman, and so on, as well as The Little Prince himself.
To play, each player takes turns drawing as many tiles as the number of players, from one of the tile pools (divided by type). The player who draws gets to choose a tile to keep first, before selecting another player to choose. This goes on till each player has taken a tile, and the last to do so begins the next round of drawing.
Players start assembling their planets with each tile they get, much like putting a puzzle together.
By the end of the game, each player will also have drawn four character tiles, one for each corner of the planet. Each character gives points in different ways; for instance, The Businessman allows you to score points for each Sheep on your planet, The Lamplighter gives you points for each lamp post, and The Turkish Astronomer scores points for each Large Star.
There are dangers, however. Remember the fearsome baobab trees that threaten to overrun the prince’s planet in the books? They’re here too, and if three or more of them pop up on your planet, you have to turn over the tiles they’re on – meaning any other elements on those tiles don’t count towards points. And while the prince’s home planet had three volcanoes, having too many in the game is a setback, because the person with the most number of volcanoes has the equivalent number of points deducted from their score.
Bringing together luck and strategy, Make Me A Planet makes for a quick yet very enjoyable game. The gameplay allows players to both gamble their luck by choosing particular tiles that they hope will increase their points as well as sabotage other players by taking tiles that may be useful to them.
It is also a fairly simple game that can be played with people of all ages (the game recommends ages eight and above), with only minimal set-up and familiarising needed before you begin – a definite plus if you’re playing with children. And because it doesn’t rely on prior knowledge of the book, players don’t even need to be familiar with the story; as long as they’re up to trying something new, they’re likely to enjoy this fast-paced game.
True fans of The Little Prince may be a little disappointed that Make Me A Planet doesn’t delve deeper into the book’s mythos, but it must be acknowledged that the story itself, with its many metaphors and abstractions, is not one that lends itself easily to “gamification”. Instead, this is a fun way to engage with some of the book’s whimsies, and perhaps even encourage those who have yet to read the book to give it a try.
The only airplane of perpetual endurance, able to fly day and night on solar power, without a drop of fuel.
The challenge is to attempt the First Round-The-World Solar Flight in 2015. A way for Bertrand Piccard, André Borschberg and their team to demonstrate how pioneering spirit, innovation and clean technologies can change the world.
«Just imagine your energy reserves increasing during flight! To make this dream a reality, we had to make maximum use of every single watt supplied by the sun, storing any surplus in our batteries.» ANDRÉ BORSCHBERG
Didy Veldman was in her early twenties when she first read The Little Prince. Like many adults, she was surprised by the existential questions raised by what she presumed was a simple children’s story. After several re-readings, she felt the urge to
translate its poetry and purity into movement. “I wanted to keep certain narrative elements,” she explains, “but not be overly literal. The Little Prince is a story about rediscovery. I would like to focus on aspects of human behaviour and life choices, to question them in the same spirit of the book. But this is only the starting point. Who knows where it will all lead?”