The play begins with the bold colours of the Nepali flag, and this journey through red and blue is not one to miss
The reason we go back every year to see productions by Studio 7 at the Hotel Vajra is because the core team of Sabine Lehmann (Director), Ludmilla Hungerhuber (Set Designer) and Shambu Lama (Lighting) never fail to inspire.
From the Panchayat years in the 80s, through Democracy in the 90s, through the war and the brief stint of an absolute monarchy, until what we have today, Studio 7 has witnessed Nepal’s leadership transformations with a critical eye. They use their decades of knowledge to bring us meaningful productions that ask us questions of ourselves, of our society and of our place in the world.
What draws us in is the promise of satire and humour -- both subtle and hilariously over the top. By the end of the performance, however, we realise that we have taken in much more than we had come for. We have journeyed with a character through an entire life’s worth of learning, leaving the theatre with meaningful insight into the human condition. This is true as ever of their latest production, an adaptation of author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince.
The play opens with the rambunctious Pilot (Raymon Das Shrestha), crashing his plane into the Sahara Desert. He comes across our protagonist, The Little Prince (Karma), a wide-eyed boy who has journeyed from his home Asteroid B-612 and wants nothing but for the Pilot to draw him a picture of a sheep. This seemingly odd couple begin to come together when The Little Prince tells the Pilot of the different planets and asteroids he has visited on his way to Earth. We are transported to each of these planets with him.
Our protagonist is tested severely throughout his journey by the worst elements of humanity. These are represented by shockingly narrow-minded rulers of planets who govern areas barely large enough for them to stand on. Their huge egos limit them to the worlds they perceive through their senses for they have not understood the words that the story hinges on: “It is only with the heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye”.
Those who have read the classic will be pleasantly surprised by the genius with which Studio 7 has combined and contextualised the characters. From the beautiful rose that The Little Prince left behind to the historically inaccurate Historian on Asteroid B330, the sets, costumes and creatures that the group have created together are highly inventive. It is in these smaller sequences that Studio 7's particular flavour truly comes through.
The heart of the Studio 7 art calls for the audience’s reflective detachment brought about by a very specific style of performance taught by director Sabine Lehmann. Artist Salil Subedi can be expected to deliver and give us a hint of nostalgia for the performances of years past, but relative new-comers, Kalsang Lama, Kundung Shakya and Sugam have managed to adopt this style in a short amount of time. The musician who goes by ‘Gotsomethin’ enhances the performances with music from all across the spectrum, wonderful effects and expert timing.
The play begins with the bold colours of the Nepali flag, and this journey through red and blue is not one to miss. If you have never seen a play put on by Studio 7 before, this is the perfect first ride to catch. The stage is set for The Little Prince in all of us to open our minds, find the purity of our intension, and come to understand what is truly essential.
27 to 29 May, 3 to 5 June
and 10 to 12 June
7.15 pm onwards, Hotel Vajra, Dallu,
Tickets: Rs 1000, 500 (for students)