Seems we’ve almost all gone from confined times to hard times.
Well, I’m gonna run away from my destiny for a while. I’ll talk about the audience I’m aiming for soon.
Then, back to basics. You know, those little things in life that you learn when you’re wondering whether to keep going or stop.
And we meet each of the treasures that help us stay there, like tiny lights that don’t want to go out.
Today, among those tiny lights that I have accumulated, I want to tell you about The Little Prince. The children are its audience. They are important. They deserve good works. Beautiful texts. Beautiful shows.
It is a little novel. It’s like a fairy tale, very well known in France.
It was written & illustrated by Monsieur Antoine de Saint Exupéry in 1943. He was an aviator – from the great era of the Aeropostale ( French Airmail – this man is one of my heroes), then a war aviator, and also a very great writer. An artist and a man of action.
The Little Prince is a kind of in the spirit of Rudyard Kipling’s story of The Cat That Walks by Himself and his entire series of tales for “My best Beloved.”
And of course, as it is a pure marvel of humanity and intelligence, this story has been adapted into shows: dance, circus, theatre, musicals…
I don’t know if you know this story?
It’s about a little prince who falls one day on our planet.
His planet is very small – and there is an unbearable rose at home, with a terrible bad temper, waiting for him to come back. And well, he loves “her” :
“If someone loves a flower that only exists in one of the millions and millions of stars, it’s enough to make him happy when he looks at it. He thinks, “My flower is out there somewhere…” But if the sheep eats the flower, it is for him as if, suddenly, all the stars were extinguished! And that’s not important!“
The prince falls in the Sahara. He meets an aviator who is trying to repair his plane.
The aviator is, more or less, Saint Exupery.
And the “funny little man” befriends the aviator, stranded a thousand miles from any inhabited land.
He asks him to draw him, please, a sheep.
Their friendship starts exactly there, when the aviator draws only very ugly sheeps and ends up drawing a box with a sheep inside. It was the perfect sheep.
Then the prince tells him about his journey from planet to planet. The very strange people he may have met there. The one who turns on his lamppost – turns off his lamppost – turns on his lamppost. Just like that, endlessly.
Upon arriving on Earth, the Prince first met a Snake – which would allow him to return home; roses that looked so much like his own that he cried, and a fox.
He wants to pet it. The fox warns him: if he does that, he will tame him. And when he is tamed, he will need the little boy. If the little prince is not capable of assuming this friendship, this bond, it is better to leave the wild fox alone and in peace.
“I’m looking for friends. What does “tame” mean?
–It’s something too forgotten, said the fox. It means “to bond…”
– Making connections?
– Of course, said the fox. You’re still just a little boy to me, just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I don’t need you. And you don’t need me either. I am for you only a fox like a hundred thousand foxes. But, if you tame me, we will need each other. You will be for me unique in the world. I will be for you unique in the world… “
The little prince is taming the fox.
And when he tells him that he is going to leave, the fox says that he is going to cry.
The prince thinks that he should never have asked him to tame it. And the fox sends him to see all those flowers that look like his flower. Afterwards, he tells him the simplest – and truest – secret:
“Here’s my secret. It’s very simple: you can only see well with your heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes.”
These are simple words – that all children understand.
Simple problems of the heart – that all adults forget. No – not all of them.
This is what is in this text and what gives art, in my opinion, its reason for existing.
Living to die, we can all do it.
But learning to live in spite of all the obstacles is more difficult.
We need the eyes of artists to see the essential.
That’s why it’s a great text.
And that this great text has given rise to great shows, great works, achievements that touch the heart. Well, all right : at my age, I still cry at the end every time.
I think I know why I chose to return to that great help of my childhood. I’m very fearful. And I know that talking seriously about Altair’s audience is a risky business. Besides, it’s important to the people who’ll be doing this theatre. I’ll do it.