Bria Hansen adapts fantasy novel “The False Prince” through Black Box Grant

Southern Utah University’s Black Box Grant program will be presenting a student-made adaptation of “The False Prince” by Jennifer A. Nielsen. The adaptation, written by and starring senior Bria Hansen and directed by Brooklyn Monson, will be playing in SUU’s Black Box Theater on Nov. 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5.

“The False Prince” follows a group of orphans that are given two weeks to train to impersonate the king’s long-lost son upon a summons from a member of his court.

“It’s really just all about freedom,” said Monson. “What it takes to get freedom and what it is to give it up for something that you really care about.”

Hansen applied for the Black Box Grant at the end of the spring 2023 semester, and upon receiving it, had the opportunity to realize an idea they’d been working on for nine years.

“Little almost 13-year-old Bria emailed Jennifer A. Nielsen, and she wrote back the following day saying that I had permission to do this as an academic pursuit,” said Hansen.

Though the source material for the show is a children’s novel, Hansen felt as though the subject matter translated well for an older audience.

“It is such a complex story, but it’s written for a younger audience,” said Monson. “The way that we’re playing this out is that it’s this sort of storytime, this sort of play space where we can really just have fun and also have these serious moments.”

The show also serves as a learning opportunity for many of the members of the production team since all but two are first-time designers.

“So many people have spent so much time and effort and mental energy and physical energy trying to put this together, and it’s something that’s truly spectacular,” said Hansen.

Author: Tessa Cheshire
Photos courtesy of Bria Hansen