Arabian Nights: Colorful Storytelling

Arabian Nights, adapted by Dominic Cooke, playing at the James Barr Auditorium in Mequon WI.  5000 W. Mequon Rd, 53092

May 1 and 2 @ 7:30pm
May 3 @ 2pm

Students $7
Adults $8

Or Donate a children’s book and get $1 off your ticket!!!

Shahrazad tells King Shahrayar her last story
Shahrazad tells King Shahrayar her last story

The play opens in ancient Persia, where King Shahrayar (William Toney) and his wife (Alessandra Gouverneur) live in happiness and rule over the kingdom with wisdom and kindness. This all changes when the king discovers his wife is having an affair with another man and puts her to death. He quickly falls into a great despair and declares that he will never give another woman a chance to cheat on him, taking wives for one night and then putting her to death the day after. This horrid reign of death plagues the land and threatens to cause an uprising among the people in the name of their murdered daughters. It is then that the royal advisor’s daughter Shahrazad (Alex Gieske) puts a plan into action to heal the king of his bitter life and save the kingdom from civil war.

Actor Jonathan Bartlett learned aerial tricks on the dance trapeze to play the Talking Bird
Actor Jonathan Bartlett learned aerial tricks on the dance trapeze to play the Talking Bird

She asks her father to marry her to the king and then, with the help of her younger sister Dinarzad (Sarah Mai), begins to tell the king a series of intriguing stories, holding his attention so tightly that he keeps her alive night after night in order to hear the next story. As her stories go on, they begin to show a trend of honor, mercy, and love, which she attempts to impart on Shahryār.

The production of Arabian Nights is preformed in a very Cirque Du Soleil fashion, with actors in highly colorful costumes representing landmarks, mythical beings, and animals instead of set pieces and props. Everything in the play is very vivid in its color and movement, keeping the attention of younger children while celebrating the color pallet of ancient Persian art.

Hannah Engel plays Marjanah, a slave girl who performed the "Dance of the Deadly Dagger."
Hannah Engel plays Marjanah, a slave girl who performed the “Dance of the Deadly Dagger.”

A cast of 18 actors play multiple roles in order to fill out the many different characters that the tales contain. The dialogue of the play is read as it is within a fairytale, with actors explaining what they are doing as they do it in order to maintain the direct narrative feel of the production. The actors also perform acrobatics, dancing, and other physical spectacles in order to add to the celebratory nature of the show.

It is fun, family friendly, and full of fantastic visuals to make it one of the more likable productions that has been seen at Homestead High School in recent memory.

Arabian Nights Banner 2

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