ARABIAN NIGHTS Runs Now thru 6/7 at Silver Spring Stage
Silver Spring Stage presents the community theater premiere of The Arabian Nights by Mary Zimmerman adapted from The Book of One Thousand Nights and One Night, directed by Jacy D'Aiutolo and produced by Bob Scott, exciting and breathtaking new take on the magical experience in which Scheherazade's stories, told to save her life, weave an enchanted carpet ride that will both delight the senses and provoke the mind. The Arabian Nights will perform weekends tonight, May 16 to June 7, 2014.
Silver Spring Stage is located in the Woodmoor Shopping Center, lower level (next to the CVS) at Colesville Road and University Boulevard. Ticket prices are $20 for adults and $18 for seniors and students. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8:00 PM and Sundays May 25 and June 1 at 2:00 PM. Tickets can be purchased at www.ssstage.org. Information is also available by calling (301) 593-6036.
One of the most influential texts in literature One Thousand Nights and One Night is a collection of West and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as The Arabian Nights, from the first English language edition in 1706. The stories were collected over many centuries by various authors, translators, and scholars across West, Central, South Asia and North Africa. The tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian folklore and literature. A common theme in many The Arabian Nights tales is fate and destiny. Mary Zimmerman constructed The Arabian Nights originally in 1994 through rehearsals for the play. She has adapted the play through many productions. She said about the play, "Almost everything I've ever adapted has had a sort of epic and an episodic quality. There tend to be voyages and exotic lands, and a central character who goes on both an actual journey and a journey of the soul." She adapted The Arabian Nights following the first Gulf War: "I was distressed by the discourse surrounding The Middle East at the time. In order to persuade people to go to war against others, you have to convince them that the others are truly different, not quite human, not quite 'like us.' In The Arabian Nights, the characters are actually very familiar sorts, although we find them in somewhat exotic trappings." Audiences will revel in these familiar and exotic stories told with music and dance. The Arabian Nights will be an enjoyable and memorable experience.
The tale of Scheherezade is a story of redemption and forgiveness. King Shahryar (Terry Spann) discovers his queen has been unfaithful and he murders her and her lover in their bed. Shahryar becomes so convinced that all women are deceitful and unfaithful that he vows to marry a virgin each night and kill her the next morning. His vizier, Scheherezade's father (David Flinn), is given the unhappy task of procuring the King's endless stream of victim brides. After three years, no one remains in the kingdom eligible to be sacrificed to the King's anger. Shahryar notices that his faithful servant has two daughters and demands the elder as his bride that very night and the younger girl the next night. Scheherezade (Jacqueline Chenault) agrees and brings her sister to the palace with a plan to try and save her life, her sister's life and the lives of any other unlucky girls who might follow. Scheherezade's father is instructed to return to the palace the following morning carrying his daughter's burial shroud. The marriage takes place, Shahryar attempts to kill Scheherezade and her sister, Dunyazade (Catherine Oh) cries that she cannot sleep unless she hears one of her Scheherezade's wonderful stories. And thus begins one tale leads to another with each tale always ending at a cliffhanger and Scheherezade points out that it is dawn and her father awaits with her shroud. Her life is spared for one more night as the King wishes to hear how the story will end, but the King forbids her to comfort her father. The cycle begins that will end a thousand and one nights later.
The cast also features playing multiple roles: Joel Beavan, Karen Elle, Mario Font, Karen V. Lawrence, Julia Morrissey, Christa Palmer, James Raby, Leigh K. Rawls, Doug Sanford, Lorrie Smith, Vanessa Terzaghi and Samuel Dumarque Wright.