At a Glance: The inspiring true story of Li Cunxin, the young boy who escaped his life in impoverished China, to become one of the world's most elite ballet dancers has been brought to life on the stage in The Peasant Prince - a children's adaptation of Mao's Last Dancer.
Cost: From $29.00/$104.00 for a family of 4
Opening Times: Now until 20.04.16 then it tours nationally
Kiosk or Cafe: Darling Quarter has many eateries alongside the theatre
Playground: Darling Quarter Playground is right in front of the theatre
Age Suitability: 6 years plus
There is this old Chinese fable about a frog who lives in a well and never wants to leave it as he believes that he lives in paradise. Until one day a turtle tells him about the beautiful world beyond the well and that he needs to try and get out of the well to see it. The frog is ignorant (and perhaps afraid) and doesn't want to leave his well.
Monkey Baa Theatre's latest play - The Peasant Prince, has many correlations to this fable. A young boy born into a very poor life in rural China during the reign of Chairman Mao, is quite content with the life he has at home with his parents and 7 brothers. However one day he is given an opportunity to attend a ballet academy in Beijing.
For this young boy (Li Cunxin) the decision for him to escape the world into which he was born, is both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. At first he doesn't want to leave, but then with much cajoling he ventures outside of his "well." And basically he ventures off to the big smoke, where he morphs from a peasant boy to a dancing prince.
Monkey Baa Theatre's stage adaptation of The Peasant Prince is simply but very effectively brought to life by only 4 actors and a very clever stage which uses shadows, music and simple props to explain Li Cunxin's story. The hour long production will keep children spellbound and even though the story is quite serious at heart, there are many amusing moments that will have the whole audience laughing.
The Peasant Prince is suitable for primary school aged children. My Kindergarten child, whilst mesmerised by the theatrics of the stage performance, had difficulty understanding some of the concepts in the storyline. However my child in Year Two, could easily tell me step by step everything that happened in the show and understood the main theme of the story - that when an opportunity comes your way, you need to grab it and then work very hard to make the most of it.
Monkey Baa Theatre productions are not only entertaining for children and adults alike, but they always offer some sort of activity in the foyer of the Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre before and after the show. For The Peasant Prince you can write down a wish on a paper tag, and then attach it to the tail of the kite on the wall. And who knows, just like the Peasant Prince you too may be able to escape the well of your life....
The Peasant Prince is on stage at the Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre until 20.04.16 and then the production tours around the country. For more information and to purchase tickets, click HERE
(We were invited as guests to view The Peasant Prince)
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