Students in grades 2 through five took to the Waterman School stage Friday night for one performance of French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exup ry's most famous novella 'The Little Prince.' This was not a school sanctioned event, rather a production of Curtain Call Theatre Arts Program, in conjunction with KHOROS and the Skaneateles YMCA, under the direction of Patricia Rickard.
Rickard, involved in children's theater for 48 years, had been working on this "The Little Prince" since November teaching the children about stagecraft.
"It's child centered," Rickard said of her approach. "I keep the bar high, as it can always be lowered.
She said she talks up to the children, rather than down to them and lets her students imaginations dictate most of the actual production around the framework of the script.
"I collaborate with them as this is their play," Rickard said.
The students have been learning skills and techniques of drama and theatre that will extend way beyond the one evening's performance. For example, the children were charged with conceiving of their own costumes.
"I think of children as these wonderful being who haven't been hammered yet," she said. "I don't want to beat the creativity out of them."
But also, her standards are high, after the dress run through, Thursday Feb. 10, she gathered the children on stage for a critique. A critique they welcomed. She went through scene by scene giving each child pointers on how to make their performances or stage work more effective. And the children drank this knowledge in like a delicious cup of hot cocoa topped with fresh whipped cream on a cold winters day.
"The Little Prince" is a classic novel that has been adapted to the stage by Rickard with original music by a long time collaborator of Rickard's the late Carol Robbins. Skaneateles Barbara Mushock performed the music live on the piano.