Ben's comments about story-telling were one of the things that reminded me of that powerful story about story-telling, The Thousand and One Nights. The idea of telling that very classical story at Marin Shakespeare Company stayed with me for several weeks. Finally, not being able to shake it, I talked to Bob about the idea of dramatizing Shahrazad's story for our audiences. He immediately agreed that this was a story we should be telling now.
When we couldn't find a script we thought would work well at our theatre, Bob encouraged me to write one. Putting the script together was a tremendous joy.
I was scrupulous about writing only in my "off-time" from running the company; I didn't want this creative task to take away from fundraising and management. So I would write at night or in the early morning, on weekends and through the holidays. Soon, I fell into the habit of reading to my son Nate, then 8 or 9, the portion of the story I'd written each night, breaking off wherever I had stopped. It was a magical time.
At first, we thought that the brilliant Doug Rushkoff, an old friend from college, would come direct the piece. Doug generously read the script as it progressed and offered deep insights. But eventually his book tour schedule, and also, I think the fact that the play became more of an optimistic romance and less of a critical political-historical exploration led him to bow out.
Meanwhile, I had somehow convinced the incredible Vince Delgado not only to compose the music but to put together a small ensemble including himself to perform live at every performance. This was perhaps the greatest triumph of the production. I also found an astounding choreographer and somehow managed to assemble a perfect cast. Denise Kirchner and I had a wonderful time figuring out how to create jinnis and elephants and other fantastical apparitions and Cynthia Beckley created a complex costume scheme for the more than 100 characters in the show.