“Flight” turns out to be a sort of sequel to “The Little Prince” told through three acrobatic performers, who use their bodies to create characters and creatures and contrivances in clever and contorted ways.
I was initially drawn to see this 45-minute show at the New York Fringe festival because of this photograph, with what I took to be its promise of acrobatically aerial splendors:
More accurate is this one, which was taken during the performance of the show at the Edinburgh Fringe last year –
And more accurate still is this one I took before the show this weekend on the bare stage of the 92nd Street Y.
What’s missing from these pictures is Ezra LeBank speaking, which he does almost continuously. He is the storyteller – he wrote the text and he does most of the talking, as both narrator and the central character of the pilot. The tale, as convoluted as the original, concerns the pilot’s return to find the little prince (Cynthia Price – or, more precisely, two of Cynthia Price’s fingers), who is now a girl, and theyr many adventures, including an encounter with a cactus (one of the roles portrayed by Taylor Casas.)
The story is amusing and fanciful and seemed to capture and hold the attention of both the eight-year-olds and many of the adults in the audience. But I personally could have appreciated “Flight” just as much had it been performed in silence. That way I could have avoided what seemed at times the distraction of the narration and concentrated on the dancing — or, to be more specific, on the sublime creations that come to life through nothing more than physical movement full of gracefulness and invention. Directed and choreographed by Olivia Trevino, the three performers collectively create a pirate – one of the women is LeBank’s beard and eye patch, the other his arms and hands. They form an automobile – the two women being the chassis and the headlights, LeBank the passenger – and an airplane – one is the wings and the other is LeBank’s goggles. Later, they are a wave in the ocean.
“One sees clearly only with the heart,” the fox famously tells the Little Prince in the original 1943 novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. “What is essential is invisible to the eyes.” But what I found most essential in “Flight” were the three bodies very visible to our eyes.
14th Street Y
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