Life Before The Time Of Corona – The Happy Prince

April 3, 2020


It’s times like these when you are restricted in your movements and social gatherings, that you either catch up on phone calls and correspondence, clean your house, indulge in reading, listen to your favourite CD, or reflect on when you were able to attend movies, concerts, plays and live entertainment.

A few weeks ago, in February, I went with my daughter to see The Australian Ballet’s world-premiere of The Happy Prince. Choreographed by national living treasure Graeme Murphy, ably assisted by Janet Vernon, this most spectacular production was inspired by Oscar Wilde’s eponymous story. Built on the themes of war and peace, poverty and wealth, loss and love, and, pertinently in current times – sharing and caring, the Happy Prince and the Little Swallow develop an enduring friendship. It’s a lovely story that collectively speaks to a young and mature audience alike. 

The soloists and corps de ballet skilfully performed their roles with the utmost grace and humour. I was enchanted. I think we are very lucky to have dancers of such high calibre in Australia.

Kim Carpenter’s set and costume design was a visual feast. The statue of the Happy Prince ingeniously removed itself from the backdrop of the town square’s darkened apartment blocks. I was reminded of Fritz Lang’s iconic expressionist movie Metropolis. Set against this monochrome background the dancer’s autumn hued costumes stood out captivatingly. The wings and big eyes of the dragon flies’ attire cleverly enhanced their polished flight through the air. 

As if on cue my daughter’s dress matched this production’s colour scheme.

Christopher Gordon’s musical score and Damian Cooper’s lighting design complemented this amazing production. 

I fondly reflect on the magic of that night and look forward to the day when, what I had in the past taken for granted, will be able to dazzle me again. And, not only me, but all of us. 

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