Tom Quaintance, the artistic director of the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, doesn’t like to sound cliche, but he risked it in his excitement for the upcoming opening of The Little Prince.
“This may sound like a cliche, but this is truly a story for all ages,” he said. “I came across the story when I was a kid. My sister, who was taking French, read it to me. I was transported by the illustrations. It is an extraordinary tale that is well-known and loved. It is a fanciful story for kids, but adults love the fact that it is a beautiful, poetic look at life. It has an enduring quality to it and truly has something for the entire family.”
Kicking off the Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s season, Quaintance wanted to find a play that had the broad appeal of The Little Prince, particularly as the next play. Sweeney Todd has such an adult theme.
In order to stage the show, the CFRT installed a lift in the floor of the stage. The lift gives height and dimension to the stage, which Quaintance says has been a lot of fun, but quickly adds that while it is a fun new tool in his director’s kit bag, it is a tool that lends itself to the strong story-telling, which is a signature of the theatre.
While The Little Prince is not a musical, music gives the play a rhythm and a heartbeat that Quaintance and the cast feel assists in the storytelling. The music for the show was composed by Sean Powell, who is also a member of the ensemble and winner of the Best of Fayetteville Best Actor.
“The play is better for the music Sean is composing,” said Quaintance. “A lot of the instruments we are using are very spiritual like the Tibetan singing bowl and the Native-American flutes. The addition of the music brings a deeply spiritual feel to the show.”
Steven Minnow is playing the aviator who is one of the main characters of the story, but also serves as the narrator throughout the play.
“Going into the process of the play, it was weird to be in the story and tell it,” said Minnow. “Finding that balance has really been a challenge.”
Quaintance noted that in the telling of the story the audience finds itself immersed in the journey, which has many facets.
As a child, Emily Grosland, who is playing The Little Prince, saw the journey focusing on friendship and the need to pay attention to things. While preparing for the role, she found that in order to be The Little Prince, she had to open herself up to emotions like children do. “I had to allow the play to happen to me and embrace the innocence of the story.”
Minnow added that the play invites you to forget the challenges of the every day little stuff and see what really matters is all the stuff and people who are in your life.”
The play is running Sept. 19 through Oct. 6, with tickets to the show ranging in price from $12 to $25. Tickets can be purchased online at www.cfrt.org or at the CFRT Box Office during its regular business hours.
Photo: The Little Prince will be at CFRT through Oct. 6.