LAUGHTER IN THE STARSBy Jeff Swearingen
A Stage Adaptation of Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince
Directed by Jeff Swearingen
Produced by Bren Rapp
Lighting Design – Brandon Cunningham
Costume Design – Bren Rapp
Sound Design – Mike Vernusky
Animation – Jay Schuh
Piper Cunningham – The Little Prince
Chris Rodenbaugh – The Pilot
Kennedy Waterman – The Rose
Madeleine Norton – The Snake
Tex Patrello – The Fox
Brian Wright – The King/The Geographer
Jeremy LeBlanc – The Vain Man
Logan Beutel – The Drunkard/Adult
Josh LeBlanc – The Businessman
Jaxon Beeson – The Lamplighter
Tess Cutillo – The Astronomer/Adult
Reviewed Performance: 3/27/2015
Reviewed by Angela Newby, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Laughter in The Stars is a stage adaptation by Jeff Swearingen from the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, which was first published in 1943. It is the most read and translated book in the French language and was voted the best book of the 20th century in France.
Jeff Swearingen, director, has brought together a talented cast and crew to put on a production that pushed them to grow in their craft. Each and every element was seamlessly, natural and perfectly paced.
Lighting design by Brandon Cunningham was essential in the progression of the play. While the Little Prince was visiting the different characters, the lighting was the only distinction between the planets. For each of the characters there was a direct spotlight that was set perfectly. The differing shades of blue only enhance the travel feel of the space journey. The fades were spot-on and only an addition to this great play.
Bren Rapp with costuming was flawless. Each and every character was dressed in a way that only enhanced the depth of their character. The Little Prince was decked out in a white button down shirt, khaki pants, and brown riding boots, with a green and red satin robe over it all. The pilot’s bomber jacket was picture-perfect. The rest of the cast was dressed in a business casual manner to fit the role of who they were. Rapp did an amazing job of enhancing the play through the costumes.
Sound Design by Mike Vernusky was precise and accurate with the script. From the plane crash, to the transportation of The Little Prince, each element only enriched the performance.
Jay Schuh’s animation was well-done and was the only true set design of the show. The projected animation was impeccable through the differing planets and Earth. Schuh’s animation of the drawings was perfect and moved with the plot flawlessly. Piper Cunningham as The Little Prince had an impressive performance. The Little Prince was a somber character that slowly gained passion throughout his adventures. Cunningham nailed this and perfectly handled the emotion of her character. Her vocal inflection was incredible. While there were a few line mishaps, Cunningham was always able to recover and come back stronger. Cunningham has a strong future ahead of her.
The Pilot played by Chris Rodenbaugh was marvelous. Rodenbaugh’s ability to span the emotional barrage that The Pilot was faced with was marvelous. His relaxed stance and thoughtful facial expressions only heightened the friendship the Pilot had with The Little Prince. Yet it was once the Pilot became angry, that Rodenbaugh truly showed his talent through his terse looks and wavering vocals.
The Snake, the deceptive antagonist, was played by Madeleine Norton. Her fluid movements mimicked the slithering of a snake, and her smooth voice only enriched The Snake’s motive. Tex Patrello, as the Fox, had quick movements that were accented through his out of breath vocal inflection. Patrello’s calm monologue was breathtaking and showed the heart of the story.
The rest of the cast members were all part of short interactions with The Little Prince. Kennedy Waterman as The Rose had the best facial expression which mirrored the duel personality of The Rose. The King/The Geographer, played by Brian Wright used hand gestures to show the thought process of his characters to help distinguish the two easily.
The Vain Man by Jeremy LeBlanc had high energy and a calm tone that helped the duel personality of the character. Logan Beutel as The Drunkard/Adult on the other hand, was somber and Beutel’s tone and blank stares were textbook to a drunkard.
Josh LeBlanc’s had astonishing vocal inflection as The Businessman that was only enhanced by his bewildered looks. Jaxon Beeson as The Lamplighter had marvelous characterization and was able to split between his job and his conversational tone. Tess Cutillo portrayed The Astronomer/Adult, and though the roles where short, Cutillo had the best posture to show the power of the astronomer, and then the close proximity as the mother.
This was a fantastic production that shows the hard work and dedication of the cast. It is a family friendly show that will be enjoyed by any age. Job well-done Fun House Theatre and Film; can’t wait to see the success from this run.
Fun House Theater and Film
Plano Children’s Theatre
1601 Custer Road
Plano, TX 75075
Runs through April 4th
Friday-Saturday at 7:30 pm, and Sunday at 2:30 pm
All tickets are $8.00 each.
For information and to purchase tickets, go to www.funhousetheatreandfilm.com or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.