The Little Big Princess

Immersive theater experience where travelers fly in a magical bed though the universe.

Client:

North Park University in Chicago, IL.

My Responsibilities:

Creative Director, Stage Director, script adaptor, Puppet Designer, and Set dresser

Why

We were invited to create an immersive sensory theater workshop for their current students and alumni. We love the message of hope, friendship and love the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry has. This was the perfect time to work with it. Concept, set design/dressing , and theater direction in collaboration with Karim Galici.

 

How

It's a whimsical adventure being told by shadow puppetry, rod puppets, and toy theater. Every scene has a scent, tactile stimuli, and audience participation.  Visitors are able to experience five different spaces; in some rooms they can feel grass, soil, and sand underneath their feet.

Where

North Park University Theater in Chicago, Il in 2017.

World Building

 

When buying a ticket, people received an invitation to spend the night at pilots Antoine's house for an early departure into a magica adventure.  There he will show treasured maps and tell you the magical adventure he had with a little big princess that looked just like you. Later, he will tuck you into bed and eventually the bed would start to move simulating the sensation of flying into the universe as the puppet, planets and whimpsicle atmosphere apeared before the guest eyes! Feedback from the audience compared the experience to Disney's Peter Pan Ride!

 

We adapted the script by changing the gender of various characters and their nationalities to make the story more inclusive. We also included a few jokes to make the show more current and enjoyable for adult audiences. 

The Process

 

This show started as a passion project. Karim and I had talked about doing the Little Prince as an immersive theater piece for a long time. We set out a goal that we were going to do it in 2017. Liz Ann Acosta heard our story and kindly invited us to create a workshop we called storytelling through your senses for her creative writing classes at North Park University. As part of the workshop, we were able to use their facilities to create the show we had been dreaming of for a long time.

This means that although we counted with the support of the university for promotion and venue, the show was mostly self produced. The journey of budjets, sponsors and crowd funding was a big project in itself. I will be forever gratefull to all the people who help make this show a reality.

The Design

 

The space given was a regular proscenium theater. We closed off the sitting area and used the main stage, hallways, and backstage to design our scenes. The long departure hallway came in handy to create out desert scene and contain the real sand for our desert walk sensation.


 

Five Different Atmosphere:

  •  Antoine's house

  • The Universe

  • Earth

  • The desert

  • The playroom 

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The Training

We only had two weeks to develop the show in the space. The cast had never done immersive theater before. We not only were doing an intimate show with very close contact to the audience, but we also had scenes where we had to express ourselves authentically through puppets.

The cast had to learn how to be creatures of the darkness. At times they had to move the bed, walk across the stage, climb stairs and control their puppets all while singing and moving in complete darkness. 

Audience Feedback

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Key Takeaways

  • Thrift stores are a source for good used toys.

  • It is always good to keep good relationships with fellow artists because you never know who will be your guardian angel.

  • It is impossible to do everything yourself, so always have a budget for great collaborators.

  • Trust the process and sometimes crowdfunding can be a good place to start making your dream come true. Share them with people.

The cast
The cast

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David making the book
David making the book

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Take down and feedback from Liz
Take down and feedback from Liz

Yes, we were dead!

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The cast
The cast

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