Lionel Zalachas plays The Little Prince in the French show of the same name which is coming back to Sydney in January. The Little Prince made its Australian debut at the Sydney Opera House in May. We chat to Lionel Zalachas about the role, his career and of course The Little Prince.
Lionel Zalachas, you’re playing in the show The Little Prince which is doing a second Australian tour at the beginning of next year. Tell us a little about the show.
This is a very faithful and modern adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s masterpiece of literature, ‘The Little Prince‘. The show is a mixture of genres such as dance, acrobatics, theatre and song. It allows the audience to discover characters with their own identity while respecting the book.
You play the lead role in The Little Prince. Tell us a bit about that.
Anne Tournié and Chris Mouron can testify to my big smile when they offered me the role. The Little Prince is an iconic character in French culture and it’s an honour to be able to bring him to life on stage.
Have you been dancing since childhood?
I am a former gymnast turned circus acrobat. My first dance steps were on “The house of dancing water”. I have been taking lessons ever since. The intensive training during the creation of The Little Prince helped me to reach my current level.
What inspired you to start dancing and to do it as a profession?
As I said before, I first became an acrobat. I noticed during different contracts that dancers had much more creative freedom. So I decided to take classes to catch up.
When I entered the entertainment world, what fascinated me most was life in a troupe. I thought it was the best way to share your passion.
What did you study?
I have a state diploma in sports education. I was a gymnastics coach before doing shows.
You danced in another show by Anne Tournié “The House of Dancing Water” from 2009 until 2013. How did you meet?
I was in the house troupe which did group numbers. Anne was in charge of putting together the aerial and choreographic acts for the show. She did a lot of work to erase my bad habits as a gymnast (stiffness and smallness of movements among others).
Apart from the fact that ‘The House of Dancing Water‘ is a water show, what are the differences between these two shows?
The House of Dancing Water (THODW) is a huge production with almost a hundred artists, whereas there are only twelve of us in The Little Prince.
THODW therefore contains almost only group numbers, whereas many of the performances in The Little Prince (apart from the ballets) are an opportunity to showcase a character. This interaction between these characters and the Little Prince, who is often incredulous of adults, is one of the key elements of the book and therefore of the show.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I confess I can’t think of one. However, I think being the main character in a show at the Sydney Opera House comes close!
What is your favourite dance style?
Contemporary dance which is the style that is closest to my approach to straps (my circus specialty).
Since 2019, you have been dancing in The Little Prince. Did audiences in Dubai, Paris, Sydney all respond well to the show? Do audiences in different countries react differently?
The audience in Paris was slow to come because of the lack of publicity but thanks to word of mouth the Folies Bergères was full for the last weekend.
It worked very well from the beginning in Sydney and Dubai. I would say that people were more communicative in the UAE.
Did you enjoy the short novel The Little Prince as a child?
I read it when I was a child, but I only really understood its philosophical significance when I re-read it as an adult. That’s the beauty of this book, which is aimed at all audiences.
Did dancing in this show give you a different perspective on the book?
I know it much better now! It hasn’t stopped me from re-reading it lately… You can’t get enough of it!
What audience is The Little Prince for?
The show is for all audiences.
Why should people come to see the show?
To discover or rediscover the work of Saint-Exupéry. And to rediscover the child in them!
After The Little Prince is performed in Sydney in January 2022, where will the show be performed?
We are continuing an international tour of almost a year.
Anything else you want to tell us?
We know we are privileged to be back in Australia and it’s a great pride to be back in Sydney. See you soon!
We thank Lionel Zalachas for this interview.
KEY INFO FOR THE LITTLE PRINCE WITH LIONEL ZALACHAS IN THE LEAD ROLE
WHAT: The Little Prince
WHEN: 1 – 23 January 2022
WHERE: The Sydney Coliseum, 33 Railway St, Rooty Hill NSW 2766
- Platinum $159 (for Friday to Sunday shows)
- Premium $139
- A Reserve $129
- B Reserve $109
- C Reserve $89
- Premium group 10+ $114pp
- A Reserve group 10+ $104pp
- B Reserve group 10+ $84pp
- A Reserve 4 people $399
Do you like the book The Little Prince?