THE ARABIAN NIGHTS Tranforms the Bonstelle Theatre with the Power of Storytelling, 2/8-2/17

January 22
12:57 PM 2013

THE ARABIAN NIGHTS Tranforms the Bonstelle Theatre with the Power of Storytelling, 2/8-2/17

The Bonstelle Theatre presents the beautiful, timely and highly entertaining The Arabian Nights by Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman. Zimmerman adapts the influential collection of Persian, Indian and Arabic tales, The Book of The Thousand Nights and One Night, into a resonating stage play. Her play tells the age-old story of a young maiden who must captivate her husband with spellbinding narratives each night to postpone her impending demise at his hands.

Tickets are $12-$15 and are available by calling (313) 577-2960, by visiting, or by visiting the Wayne State University Theatres' Box Office located at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.

Featuring a large ensemble cast, The Arabian Nights follows the young maiden, Scheherezade, as she tempts fate each night with the help of a troupe of colorful characters who shift between roles as each one of her new tales unfold. Sprawling rugs and lush drapery dominate an otherwise sparse stage, transporting the audience from her husband's bed chamber to exotic locales that are imagined simply through performance and the power of words - a spectacle to be seen!

Each one of Scheherezade's nightly fables displays a universality that originated centuries ago, spreading through oral tradition, the written page and, now, the stage. Famed fictional icons from The Thousand Nights and One Night, Aladdin, Sinbad and Ali Baba, are omitted in favor of the lesserknown, humanistic tales featuring such characters as Perfect Love and Huran al-Rashid, which shine just as brightly as their celebrated counterparts. These ancient tales of love, hilarity, and sorrow break down the barrier of the unknown, revealing a piece of each audience member within the stories on-stage.

Nominated in 1994 for a Drama Desk Award (Outstanding Director of a Play) for The Arabian Nights, Zimmerman's original inspiration behind writing the play was political in nature: 1991's Gulf War. Reflecting on this period to the Kansas City Star in 2009, she stated, "In the build-up to war, as in all build-ups to all wars, there was a lot of stuff on the news that I felt was geared toward making the viewer think that the people in the Middle East were somehow different than ourselves...that somehow their grief would be less when we go to war with them." With the power of storytelling as her weapon, she set out to remind the world that we are more similar than we realize, regardless of culture or
geographic location.

As the United States continues its immersion in the conflict in the Middle East, with seemingly no end in sight, The Arabian Nights continues to be as relevant today as it was 20 years ago, if not more. According to Zimmerman, "This fact, is much older than our own and has a very rich literary and poetic and artistic history," a history that will come alive on the Bonstelle Theatre's stage.


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