The Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, famous for hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 2014 is also the host city for the annual Winter International Arts Festival.
For its ninth edition, the organisers have prepared an outstanding program aimed to surprise the audience with a constellation of theatrical, ballet and music stars,
There is also a world premiere of Don’t Leave Your Planet – a musical based on the book, The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Viktor Kramer, the Stage Director says: “Everybody can say they know what this book is about, and every child and every adult is familiar with that.
“But we found out that there, in this novella, is a lot of something unexpected, new, dramatic and even tragic. That’s why we started working on it from scratch.”
The stage sports a sand pit instead of the Sahara Desert, projectors take the place of stars and a picture of a woman instead of the rose that the Little Prince was in love with. The incredible decorations, numerous visual and sound effects deprive one of the feeling that there is only one actor on the stage.
Russian actor Konstantin Khabenskiy, plays the role of the narrator, a pilot whose plane has crashed in the Sahara desert. However if you watch closely, you will notice other Saint-Exupéry characters, such as a king, a conceited man, a drunkard and a businessman who endlessly counted the stars, all impersonated by Khabenskiy.
“Every interesting role and every interesting project is difficult, because it’s new. But it makes me conquer new peaks, it opens up new horizons to me,” says Khabenskiy.
However, he is not alone on the stage. About two dozens musicians – together with Russian conductor and violist Yuri Bashmet create a special mood of the performance.
“The music is created by a Russian composer Kuzma Bodrov, with the use of masterpieces written by Mahler and Brahms, says Bashmet.
“So the melodies are familiar to spectators, but they are not just a copy of world-famous compositions.”
While music score is new, the script is 99 per cent Saint-Exupéry‘s text. However, there is always a place for improvisation and interaction with the audience.
The authors say: in such a way the audience can give more thought to the things Saint-Exupéry wanted to tell us.
“After the first show in Sochi , the next performance will be in Moscow at the end of March, ahead of a tour of Russian cities and abroad,” says Euronews’ reporter Maria Korenyuk.
American filmmaker Mark Osborne spent nearly two years in Montreal making The Little Prince, his animated feature adapted from the famous French novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. A French-Quebec co-production, it opens here on Friday, across Canada March 11 and in the U.S. via Paramount Pictures on March 18.
Men El-Qalb lel Qalb musical, a poetic adaptation of The Little Prince, will run at The National Theatre stage, marking the 30-year memorial of the death of its author, Fouad Haddad.
Men El-Qalb lel Qalb (From Heart to Heart) honours iconic poet Fouad Haddad’s spirit with his theatrical adaptation of Antoine de Saint Exupery’s novella The Little Prince, performed on The National Theatre stage starting Sunday.
Directed by Roushdy El-Shamy, the musical features renowned band Eskenderella, of which Haddad’s grandson, poet Ahmed Haddad, is a member, and is set to run for a month.
“The idea started with me and Eskenderella wanting to hold just a single night commemorating 30 years on from Haddad’s death,” El-Shamy said in interview with Ahram Online during rehearsals at The National Theatre.
El-Shamy previously organised eight evenings for Haddad and Salah Jaheen’s poetry.
“We were searching for the venue and pitched it to The National Theatre. First we were granted 15 days in Miami Theatre, then when the head of the panel watched the rehearsals, we were given a month here at The National Theatre,” he said.
El-Shamy explains how Haddad’s text maintains the core elements of The Little Prince, which poignantly tackles themes of love, loss, exploration and curiosity, but made it “wholly Egyptian, the way Haddad’s poetry is.”
Yet he adds that comparing the two would be unfair, as people familiar with the story might expect a more faithful representation.
“If someone grew up with The Little Prince and watched our play, they would feel it is wanting and incomplete, seeing as Haddad removed entire scenes and characters in his text. It is more fitting to see it as an adaptation inspired by the original novel, and they will see a glimpse of The Little Prince.”
“It is enough that he crafted it into a play, and embedded it in Egyptian culture through his language and slang poetry,” El-Shamy says.
“Haddad had a line that says ‘The heart is what sees’, and this is heart of our play. I built the play on that line, not from The Little Prince.”
Viewers can expect to feel Haddad’s mark more than Saint Exupery’s, with the narrative evoking those of Arabian folkloric fairytales.
In a sense, Men El-Qalb lel Qalb is a more focused version, by being compressed into a shorter storyline, yet retaining the original story’s thematic layers, and even more layers through the music. in tune with authentic Egyptian spirit.
“Perhaps I’m a little biased, but I believe Haddad’s ending is more beautiful than the original,” El-Shamy says.
If Men El-Qalb lel Qalb took some liberty with The Little Prince, El-Shamy took no such liberty with Haddad’s text.
“I was extremely faithful to Haddad’s text. Not a syllable has been added. It is exactly the way he crafted it,” says the director.
Since the project expanded from El-Shamy’s initial one-day plan, which he would have prepared for over six days, Min El-Qalb lel Qalb took four months of preparation.
The process, he says, was generally smooth, but not void of some challenges, one of which was a limit in production budget.
“It’s also not easy to have musicals these days. Although the play before us (Yehia El-Fakharany’s Layla Min Alf Layla) was a musical, but ours is live, and this is difficult to do,” he says.
The timing of the play also places it in close comparison to Leila Men Alf Leila, also based on poetry (of Bayram Al-Tunsi), which garnered great success at the ticket booth, grossing LE1 million in its three-month run.
“I’m told how tough a challenge it is to run a show after a big performance with a big star as Yehia El-Fakharany, but I don’t see it as a fight or a competition. Its all art and its beautiful.”
Yet if one must compare, Men El-Qalb lel Qalb is a simpler type of performance than the theatrical Leila Men Alf Leila. The scenes are like illustrative chapters to the storytelling poetry that is performed live by the characters and Eskenderella band.
“I always bet on art, whatever form it is, to speak for itself, even if it’s content is simple,” El-Shamy comments.
Being more mainstream, The National Theatre’s audience is different than the type of audience at independent venues and cultural spaces, where many poetry nights are held. The ticket booth will decide this factor’s influence on the play’s success, and whether or not it will run for longer than the agreed month.
“I started preparing the show not knowing where it will take me. But I really think Haddad’s spirit is watching over us, because of how well it worked itself out, and the fact that we have a month at The National Theatre. I feel that his soul really hasn’t left us,” says El-Shamy.
The play opens on 14 February at 9pm
Saturdays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9pm
Sundays and Fridays, morning shows at 7pm
The National Theatre, Downtown Cairo
The universe is in grave danger of extinction! The evil Snake extinguishes the stars as he passes through the galaxy, causing chaos and plunging the planets into darkness. The Little Prince must leave his Asteroid home and beloved friend, Rose, in his quest to outsmart the Snake and save the universe from doom. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Mia A. comments, « The Little Prince: The Planet of Bubble Gob, is a fun and creative movie that I enjoyed, especially because of the animation. » Benjamin P. adds, « I really like the modern characters the show adds because they have a lot of perseverance and they always want to create something new to help their planet. » See their full reviews below.
The Little Prince: The Planet of the Bubble Gob
By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10
The Little Prince: The Planet of the Bubble Gob is an imaginative, colorful film with great animation and takes some of my favorite characters from a classic story on a new exciting journey. I really like the modern characters the show adds because they have a lot of perseverance and they always want to create something new to help their planet.
The Little Prince: The Planet of the Bubble Gob is based on the characters from a famous French story by Antoine de St. Exupery published in 1943. Here, the Little Prince, alongside his best friend Fox, are sent around a futuristic universe saving planets from the evil clutches of the malevolent Snake. One day, the Little Prince and Fox discover a mysterious new planet and find out it is inhabited by a species called the Creatall who are always inventing new things to help their people and their planet, like a kooky machine that shoots toast. Soon, the Creatalls’ technology senses a wave coming to destroy their planet. The Little Prince finds out that a giant recycling machine called the Bubble Gob is causing these massive and dangerous waves. The Little Prince must find the Great Inventor who made the Bubble Gob to fix the glitch but he has gone into hiding and no one knows why. The Little Prince must find the inventor before the entire planet is wiped out so the Little Prince, some brave Creatalls and the goofy but loyal Fox set off to save it.
My favorite character is Oddzn’end, the first Creatall the Little Prince meets, because no matter what others think of him, he always tries to come up with inventions to help them.
The Little Prince: The Planet of Bubble Gob made me think about what to do to help the environment and be more aware of how to help the planet. It also showed me how important it is to help others even if you won’t benefit yourself. The Little Prince helps people even when he knows he could get hurt and it’s not his planet that’s in trouble.
I really enjoyed the animation because it takes the story to a magical level with the creation of the planet and its oceans. It is rich and lush and made me wish the planet was real so I could go visit it.
I recommend The Little Prince: The Planet of Bubble Gob for ages 6 to 12. The Snake and the Bubble Gob are a little scary and may be alarming to younger children. I give The Little Prince: The Planet of Bubble Gob 4 out of 5 stars.
The Little Prince: The Planet of Bubble Gob
By Mia A, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
The Little Prince: The Planet of Bubble Gob, directed by Pierre-Alain Chartier, is a fun and creative movie that I enjoyed, especially because of the animation.
This version of The Little Prince is about the Little Prince going to The Planet of the Bubble Gob, a planet where the people are called Creatall’s because they create a lot of things. Sadly, their ocean is completely full of the useless inventions. The Master Creator creates a big trash collector (the Bubble Gob) to fix the problem, but it actually causes big waves. The Little Prince has to help to fix the problem.
The characters, the Rose, Fox and Little Prince, are from the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. In this movie, the plot is different than the original book, but his friends the Rose and the Fox are included. My favorite character is the Fox because he is the only animal. He is a cute talking animal who is very feisty and just wants to get the job done so he can go eat a snack.
The animation brings a new twist and is as entertaining as the plot of the movie. The colors are especially vibrant and repeatedly draw my attention to the Fox and the settings. I found myself really wanting to look at each of the different inventions the Creatall’s have made.
The animation brings the settings in the movie to life! The buildings are very unusual and are made with a lot of cool items that otherwise would have been junk. The houses are very unique because they are on poles that rise up and down to avoid the dangerously high waves of the littered ocean. Even the litter in the ocean is interesting to look at as you can see all the different colors even though you are looking down on it from the sky.
Young girls will like the character of Ilmus. She is a strong female character who is smart, works hard and doesn’t give up on people. The moral behind The Little Prince is that even if you make a mistake, people will forgive you.
I rank The Little Prince: The Planet of Bubble Gob 4.5 out 5 stars. I recommend the ages 5 to 12 because there are fights in the dark with an evil snake and ghouls, which might be frightening to younger kids.
As Roger Durling, the creative director at the helm of SBIFF for 13 years and counting, took the stage on opening night to introduce the film The Little Prince to a packed crowd composed of volunteers, film buffs, filmmakers, and a certain Dude (or Jeff Bridges, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing), he emphasized the importance of community.
After paraphrasing one of his favorite lines from the book, “We must endure meeting all the caterpillars to meet butterflies,” the lights came up and Durling asked his audience to turn to a neighbor they didn’t know and chat for a minute —an exercise that warmed up the crowd and probably made the night of whomever was sitting next to Mr. Bridges.
As the lights of the Arlington dimmed back down, Durling urged attendees: “Don’t let the mundane things take over…keep that sense of amazement and meet new people.”
This was an apt sentiment to kick off the U.S. premiere of The Little Prince, director Mark Osborne’s adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved children’s book. The film follows a little girl (voiced by Mackenzie Foy, who was in attendance) who’s airless, neatly ordered life is so heavily structured by her mother (Rachel McAdams) that the girl could only fit a friendship into a half-hour block on “Thursdays…next summer.”
After The Aviator (Jeff Bridges), the colorful older gentleman who lives next door, makes a literal bad first impression when a propeller from his airplane (which he tried to start in his backyard, like you do), slices through the side of the girl’s house, she defies her mother’s schedule and befriends the old man. In doing so, she trades her math textbooks for the Aviator’s story of The Little Prince (voiced by Riley Osborne, the director’s son), a boy that the aviator claims he met in the desert. As the film introduces the Prince — a lonesome boy who lives on a tiny asteroid — the film moves from CGI to stop-motion animation, which more clearly replicates the charm of the watercolor illustrations in the original book. As the little girl loses herself in the story of the Prince, she learns to value joy and human connection over efficiency.
After the credits began to roll, filmgoers filed out of the Arlington and down to the bustling Opening Night Gala at the Paseo Nuevo, where Santa Barbara’s makeshift film community celebrated the first in what looks to be an exciting array of films.
The beloved book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Le Petit Prince — the whimsical story of how a boy on his planet charmed millions of children and adults alike, with his philosophical thoughts and humanitarian ideas — is celebrating its 72nd year in print. A new art space is now showing some more love to the dear little boy in the story.
Perhaps he was the first universe-conscious fictional person to show us the way to simpler things, gentler behavior, and all-around goodness. The book is a classic in French literature, and was required reading in many families. All my kids had to read it once a year, to remind them of thinking differently and incorporate poetry into their lives.
The Little Prince was published in 1943, and is the most famous work of French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who died in 1944, at the young age of 44, disappearing during a flight mission to collect intelligence on German troop movements in France.
The novel has been translated in over 250 languages all over the world and was voted the best book of the 20th century in France. To this day, it still sells two million copies each year — and has earned the status of best-selling book ever published.
The simple and short story of only 140 pages is a poetic tale, illustrated by the author himself in naïve watercolors – – a description of how a fallen airplane pilot finds himself stranded in the desert where he meets a boy prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The philosophical story includes social criticism and stern views of the cumbersome adult world.
The author reflects on his own life, his search for childhood certainties, his mysticism, and his belief in human courage. Written for children, the book has always resonated with adults. There is also a fox on the tiny planet, and he is a wise one: « One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eyes. »
When in Versailles, Be Royal.
Organized by the city of Versailles together with the estate of Saint-Exupéry, the unique exhibit on Le Petit Prince is taking place in the former royal hospital of the castle of Versailles. A distinguished building dating back to 1636, commandeered by Louis XIII (the 13th), the Richaud Royal Hospital had fallen into nothingness, until 2015 when the city of Versailles decided to rehabilitate it and transform it into a multi-usage project.
The historical site now includes lodging, shops and office space, as well as an art gallery in what was the former chapel of the hospital. The revival is a big success for the city. A stone throw from the famous Château, the restoration is now complete, and the first art show in the grand location is the one about Le Petit Prince.
The exhibit is open until Feb. 28.
Espace Richaud, 78 boulevard de la Reine, Versailles.
Wednesday-Sunday noon to 7 p.m.
Entrance is 5€
Free for under 26, disabled persons, and teachers.