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An Adventure: Life of Pi

The art of storytelling. It can (and should) be told in different ways. It makes the experience more interesting and memorable.

Life of Pi is the stage adaptation based on the best selling novel. The show premiered in England in 2019 before popular runs in London’s west end and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The show uses puppetry, projections and stage craft to tell the story.

Though I never read the book, I was familiar with the 2012 film. I didn’t know what to expect. I was very interested as to how they would put this story onstage.

The story takes place in the late 1970s when a teenage boy named Pi is lost at sea for 100 days after his family is shipwrecked.

So what parts of the production arrived safely.

The set. It goes from really grand, large turntables and trap doors. To very simple all done with lighting. Even using the same set for multiple locations. It's very smart and effective.

The stage craft, basic things for props like putting animals in black light, and stripped umbrellas with lights for stars. It’s very simple but it works. The use of projection is also spectacular. Being most of the show takes place “on water” the floor and boat is projected to look like it’s floating. It’s a great effect.

The puppets. They are stunning. Sometimes lifelike, which is a little startling if your on the sides of the orchestra, like I was. However it’s not just the design but the performers. They are these animals. Even providing the growls and purrs for them.

Hiran Abeysekera as Pi. Wow that was a performance. In addition to it being physically taxing. It’s a great role. He was funny, smart, strong and sassy. You forget that the character is supposed to be seventeen. Which is this case is a good thing. A great leading man. I predict a few awards for him soon.

Unfortunately something got lost at sea for me.

Act 1 got a little boring for me half way. I also felt it ended abruptly. Writing wise I prefer the second act. It’s tighter, and a subtle twist.

So what’s my opinion of “Life of Pi”.‘ I really liked it. It’s beautifully done. Great production, great story telling, amazing leading man. Creativity at it's best! Go see it for a great night of theatre.

“Life of Pi” is playing on Broadway at the Schoenfeld Theatre.

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