Last weekend I took my almost 4 year old, Liam, to his first play. Neither of us were quite sure what we were getting ourselves into (Liam couldn’t wrap his mind around the fact that there was NOT going to be a screen in front of him) but we ended up having a great time. The play that we saw was “The Little Prince” by Sackerson theater company, which is going on right now at The Art Factory in Salt Lake City. I had heard of “The Little Prince” before but wasn’t familiar with the story. We’d been told it was kid friendly and though I’d read online that while they welcome younger children, they do generally recommend that attending children be age 5 or older, I figured it was worth a shot. The venue itself is very low-key (a creative industries incubator- rentable art space- owned by the Utah Arts Alliance) which eased my worries about having brought a younger child (though I was still glad that I’d chosen to leave my 18 month old at home with dad).
When we entered the theater the room was dimly lit with strings of light bulbs hanging overhead, French music was playing softly and silhouettes behind a backlit sheet occasionally mesmerized the audience (particularly the children in the crowd). If you’re not familiar with the story, it’ll probably be helpful to know that it’s a tale of a pilot who is stranded in the Sahara Desert who meets a young prince fallen from the sky who tells tales of his life among the stars.
You’re first introduced to the pilot, who draws what appears to be top hat on a pillar of the wall painted in chalkboard paint and from there the story begins. While the entire cast includes only four members (one of which also steps in to assist the cellist with some ukulele accompaniment throughout the show), there are many interesting characters that you meet during the play; the pilot, the young prince, a talking rose, a snake, a fox and more. Each part is very well acted and incorporates the use of just enough movement and choreography that it keeps children entertained, despite the fact that the underlying ideas and concepts of the story are likely a bit over their heads. The use of the chalkboard doesn’t hurt either.
The play itself is 75 minutes long without an intermission so be sure to arrive with enough time to visit the bathroom before the show begins. The seating is wooden, built-in rows so I’d recommend bringing portable seat cushions if you have them (that will likely prevent you from becoming the seat cushion for your kiddo).
The biggest take away from the story will likely be the well-known line that “what is essential is invisible to the eye” and “one sees clearly only with the heart”. These lines might be difficult for children to understand on their own and would likely be something that would be helpful to discuss as a family after viewing the play. My kiddo was a little bit young for much discussion but he made it through the play with relatively few requests for drinks and snacks (concessions are not available for purchase) and zero requests to go home.
After the play I asked him what his favorite part was and he told me ‘the flower’ and I asked him if he’d like to see another play again soon and he said he wanted to see “The Little Prince” again. It’s definitely a play worth seeing and if you ask Liam, it’s a play worth seeing twice.
- Use the bathroom before the show (the play is 75 minutes without an intermission).
- Bring seat cushions if you have them
- Make sure your kiddos have an idea of what the play is about before the show starts; otherwise it might not be immediately clear to them who the characters are.
- Don’t be afraid to use your camera during the show, but don’t use your flash and don’t be disruptive to those around you. Use of your camera is actually encouraged. Be sure to tag any photos you post to social media with the tag #littleprinceslc