Piper Cunningham (left) and Chris Rodenbaugh in Fun House Theatre and Film’s Laughter in the Stars
A little prince from a faraway planet lands on Earth in Laughter in the Stars, Jeff Swearingen’s adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 classic, The Little Prince, for Fun House Theatre and Film.
Eight-year-old Piper Cunningham is looking forward to playing the prince.
“I like how proper and nice the prince is,” she says by phone from her home in Plano. “It’s way harder than a small role because you have to practice your lines a lot. But I really like being onstage.”
Laughter in the Stars uses animation by Jay Schuh, sound effects by Mike Vernusky and simple staging by Swearingen to tell the story of what the prince learns on his travels.
Among the lessons, which he shares with a pilot whose plane has crashed in the desert, is that “it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
The show was a hit for the youth company when it premiered it in 2012. The challenge in bringing it back was finding a child who could carry the show again.
Piper will be the youngest person to tackle the role as well as the youngest person in the cast, which ranges up to age 17. Jaxon Beeson, 14, of Plano, who played the original Prince, will play the Lantern Man in addition to being assistant director. Kennedy Waterman, 14, of Garland will return as the Prince’s Rose.
Piper is aware of the challenge. She fell in love with acting four years ago after seeing her older sister, Karina, now 12, play a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz for Plano Children’s Theatre. Piper started taking classes at 4 and made her Fun House debut at 6.
As soon as she knew she was being considered for Laughter in the Stars, she cut off her hair to look more like the prince. She’s also studying the original book as well as the script.
“I like how this show is not just about actions, but about expressing your feelings,” she says. “Also, it’s a very fun show to do.”
Continues through April 4 at Plano Children’s Theatre, 1301 Custer Road, Plano. $8 in advance, $10 at the door. funhousetheatreandfilm.com.