It may be hard for me to have an unbiased perspective on this play. There are several things I would try to fix for future productions. Audiences enjoyed it tremendously and it is one of the plays we most often hear audience members requesting that we re-mount. It has been done since at several schools in a shortened version. And I was heartened that several people who saw the production whose roots are in the Muslim world were very enthusiastic with their praise. All in all, we felt good about telling a story we felt had immediate importance, and we discovered that The Thousand and One Nights are as bottomless in their fascination as is Shakespeare.
– Lesley S. Currier
From the Playbill - Director 's Notes
After last September, we, like many other Americans, became much more interested in the Islamic world: more than 20% of the people on this planet. When we realized that a rich, colorful collection of classic Islamic stories existed - The Arabian Nights - it seemed timely to explore that material.
The stories show a powerless woman who is able - through story telling - to change her husband from an angry, despairing murderer into someone who is able to love again. This message of hope, coming from the heart of the early Islamic tradition, is a message for today's world, a world where we will all need to change in difficult ways in order to find peace. We looked around for a theatrical adaptation that would express the deep messages found in the stories and showcase their variety, humor, magic and individuality, and ended up deciding to create our own original play.
While we have tried to stay true to the spirit and detail of the stories, we too are part of their continuing evolution and we bring to them both a personal and a Western sensibility, accent, and instinct. We have tried to counter-balance this tendency by working closely with some fabulous, knowledgeable collaborators.
Vince Delgado has composed and is performing original music for the production, based on authentic Arabic modes and rhythms. Yasmen Sorab Mehta has worked closely with the cast not only to choreograph movement sequences, but also to teach us many details such as how an Arabic woman would wash laundry, or how to a sultan would eat at a banquet.