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Dark times for the Little Prince?

Everyone knows the tale of The Little Prince, the French fable about a child lost in an adult's world. But when Berlin hosts a production, it has to tip the scales towards the dark and balances it with squawking vultures.

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Photo by Jan Pauls

Had enough of the cold? Why not head over to the Sahara desert, by way of the Admiralspalast? The Friedrichstraße theatre’s tiny stage is now spread with sand and inhabited by giant, gibberish squawking vultures. These puppets, manipulated by camouflaged puppeteers from the Ernst Busch school, are one of the few changes to the 1943 Antoine de Saint-Exupery fable. And Petit Prince purists (especially those without proficient German) will appreciate the overall loyalty to the original text.

These vultures, as well as a tricky old rat, provide comic relief à la Tom & Jerry, assisting the switch from watercolor-illustrated novella to a modern stage adaptation. If there is one thing that surprises the viewer in this version, it is how dark the story can be.

Just beyond the stage is a flat screen where the desert ends and cold black space begins, on which filmed clips of the different planets that the Prince visits (filmed by the Konrad Wolf Film School Potsdam-Babelsberg) are projected. This makes the Prince’s encounters with various self-absorbed grown ups take on an especially troubling – even nightmarish – feel. The audience is pulled in for an up close view of their expressions and when the camera zooms out, it successfully gives the illusion that they are abandoning the sad, solitary men to the stark loneliness of the universe.

In the end, this version of the story leaves you feeling like a kid and reminds you of some of life’s most important lessons – just in time for the holiday season. And to be sure you’re no Scrooge this year – €2 from your ticket will be donated to Unicef. There are 20 opportunities to see it, with both evening and afternoon times.

Find more information about show times and ticket prices on the Admiralspalast website.