Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Thousand and One Nights - or at least it feels like it!

    Tonight our production of Mary Zimmerman's Arabian Nights opens.  It is a lush script filled with stories we might not be familiar with.  No Aladdin here, but more obscure tales from this rich wellspring of Persian culture.  I really love the script, and this production is all I had hoped it would be,  The cast is doing a wonderful job, each playing several characters who change simply by changing their hat or robe.  It is a glorified game of "Let's Pretend."  Much like when we were children and slipped on  Mommy's high heels and became a "grown up lady," or wore Daddy's tie and were a gentleman, so this play offers the cast a chance to change a representative piece of clothing and become a new person.  It is so much fun to watch.
    My colleague has designed and painted an exquisitely beautiful set.  I did the costume design.  We used Persian miniatures from the 16th century as our inspiration, with a saturated, yet limited palette.  It was somewhat restrictive, yet very freeing within the confines of the restrictions.  Much like writing a sonnet - you have to stay within the structure, but within that structure, you can go wild.
     This play is funny, it is touching, and the ending reminds us, for a split second, of the modern Persia, so troubled and violent, from which we have been given the gift of all this glorious literature.

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