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'The Little Prince' Takes Center Stage April 13 to 22

Production combines talents of Northwestern, Lookingglass and The Actors Gymnasium

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March 27, 2012 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Stilt walkers and circus arts will bring “The Little Prince” to life when the classic all-ages tale of imagination, whimsy and unrequited love takes center stage at Northwestern University this spring. The production will be directed by David Catlin, a Lookingglass Theatre Company ensemble member.

Presented by the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University in association with The Actors Gymnasium, “The Little Prince” will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday, April 13; 7 p.m. Saturday, April 14; 2 p.m. Sunday, April 15; 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19; 7 p.m. Friday, April 20; 7 p.m. Saturday, April 21; and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 22, at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus.

A matinee for Evanston and Chicago-area schools will be performed at 10 a.m. Friday, April 20. Talkbacks with Catlin and the artists will follow the April 13, April 15 and April 19 performances. All post-show discussions are free and open to the public.

Adapted by Rick Cummins and John Scoullar from the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “The Little Prince” tells the story of an aviator who crashes in the Sahara desert. Alone, stuck and thirsty, the downed pilot meets a strange and wonderful little prince. In a world moving so fast that an entire month may be lived within a single day, “The Little Prince” reminds audiences of all ages how to look beyond the tangible to see things invisible to the eye that are truly essential.

“This is one of those great stories that is both for kids and grown-ups,” said Catlin, a member of the School of Communication’s theatre department and a Northwestern alumnus. “There are many layers to ‘The Little Prince.’ You can enjoy it for the silly, wonderful characters and the adventure, but it also hits on some prescient themes for grown-ups.”

The Actors Gymnasium at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center is an Evanston-based school for interdisciplinary theatre arts, best known for circus and aerial arts classes for children and adults. In discussing his work with The Actors Gymnasium on the Northwestern production of “The Little Prince,” Catlin described the story as lending itself to elements of circus. Among the many visual surprises in store for audiences, the show will feature characters walking on peg stilts and rolling globes, as well as movement sequences that will mimic flight.

“I love to get into a room where we can physically create and do impossible things,” said Catlin. “The Actors Gym feels like the right place to inspire the kind of storytelling that the book seems to want.”

The 90-minute production features 12 Northwestern undergraduate students, with lighting, costume and set design by third-year students in the School of Communication’s MFA design program. Joseph Jefferson (“Jeff”) Award-winning Chicago sound designer and composer and Lookingglass artistic associate Rick Sims is the sound designer. Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, co-artistic director of The Actors Gymnasium and a Lookingglass artistic associate, is the choreographer, with additional choreography by the cast.

The production is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Single tickets are $10 to $25; tickets for groups of eight or more are $5 to $22 each; $5 tickets are available exclusively to Northwestern students with valid IDs on advance ticket purchases only. Tickets may be purchased through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or www.tic.northwestern.edu.