It’s been 130 years since Oscar Wilde published a collection of heartfelt short stories for children exploring the themes of love, sacrifice and death. Having adapted The Happy Prince into a Green Room Award winning production last year, Little Ones Theatre have now turned their attention to a second story from the collection The Nightingale and the Rose. In this tale, a nightingale goes on a perilous journey to unite a young student with a professor’s daughter that results in the ultimate loss.
Alongside Jennifer Vuletic and Brigid Gallacher (who will be familiar to the many who have seen previous Little Ones productions), the show features Yuchen Wang’s debut with the company. Having appeared in Little Emperors as part of Asia TOPA last year, there is a sensitivity and thoughtfulness in Wang’s acting that makes him a natural choice for The Nightingale and the Rose.
Stephen Nicolazzo’s latest production will see Wang bringing various characters from the story to life, including all the rose bushes that the nightingale encounters on its quest.
YW: I am playing the rose bushes and the professor’s daughter so essentially I’m playing four different characters. Each rose bush has their own eccentricities, and the lover basically delivers a punch to the student’s heart.
Since being newly welcomed into the company, the rehearsal process was initially met with some nerves but plenty of optimism.
YW: It certainly has been challenging, like all devising processes, but Stephen has been very patient and accommodating. It has been very collaborative, we all contribute ideas and make offers on the floor while Stephen steers us into the right direction.
Despite the brutality of the ending, Wang still sees some positive in Wilde’s story that audiences will be able to take away after seeing the performance.
YW: Like all tragedies, this story has a hopeful undertone. I think it’s that hopefulness that encourages people to dare to take risks and make mistakes.
Read more about The Nightingale and The Rose here.