The Space Between Stars by Christine Lesiak
The Space Between Stars is a radical adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic novella, The Little Prince, intended for adult audiences.
The play is set on April 21st 2016. A brilliant but quirky astronomer is sharing her favourite public lecture about the spring night sky, but she is distracted. We learn though memory flashbacks that her very precocious, giggly, imaginative six year son old fell ill from cancer. Everything in her lecture reminds her of him. The lecture derails and she falls completely into her memories of her time with him. We see her relive her lowest moments - her impatience, her irritation, and her drinking - as she comes to terms with his illness, and the cruelty in his young death. We fall in love with the etherial boy as he mercilessly teaches his reluctant mother about love, imagination and what it means to be responsible to another person. At the end of the play, the son tells his mother he is going to go back home into the sky, but she will be consoled, because whenever she looks up a the sky at night she will hear him laughing in the stars. Her final monologue is a journey though grief to acceptance, and she is able to hear his laughter in the stars, just like he promised.
Keywords: The Little Prince, astronomy, cosmology, astronomer, space, stars, constellations, grief, cancer, adaptation
Presented by the SkirtsAfire Festival, Westbury Theatre, Edmonton AB, March 2023
Winner of the 2018 Alberta Playwrights’ Network Playwriting Competition Novitiate Prize.
Genre: Drama, Adaptation
Run time: 60 minutes
Content note: Contains references to the death of a child.
Production note: The premiere of this play used complex and extensive projection design. The existing projection design created by T. Erin Gruber & Rebecca Cypher is licensable for productions.
Cast size: 2 actors
Female roles: 1
Other roles: 1
ASTRONOMER: A researcher. Woman in her forties. Brilliant, introverted, but passionate when speaking about her work and the stars. The astronomer is aware of and can speak directly to the audience. The actor may improvise off-script, within character, if needed.
BOY: Her son, 6 years old. May be voiced by any age or gender. The BOY is never seen in body – only representationally, in silhouette, shadow, puppetry, voiceover or similar.
"beautiful and affecting…Intricate technology married to exquisite simplicity"
– Liz Nicholls, 12thNight.ca