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Story and Background to the original production

The stories of the Arabian Nights are as old as storytelling itself. These stories within stories have endured over centuries and have been adapted by many cultures. They explore the timeless universal themes of love, betrayal, family, society and culture. They present a kaleidoscope of human existence, with all its joy and humour, pain and suffering. The collection of stories is framed by the plight of Scheherezade, the bride who is compelled to weave a spell of stories to save her own life.

 Mary Zimmerman’s play, THE ARABIAN NIGHTS, is a theatrically exciting, visually seductive adaptation of the original stories. The play has received rave reviews in Chicago, New York and numerous other American cities. Having been first produced in 1992, it has been revised on many occasions and continues to enchant and delight audiences.

 The New York Times says “A storybook world come to life...a seamless narrative of recital, song and carefully stylized movement in which stories endlessly beget other stories, like the boxes within boxes in a Chinese puzzle toy...But above all, THE ARABIAN NIGHTS is a celebration of the salutary powers of storytelling...on the rich, inexhaustible multiplicity of a narrative tradition.”

 “The philosophical view for this show, perhaps like the tales themselves, accepts the world as a place where cruelty, tragic loss and sudden death coexist with passion, buffoonery and a love of life. There’s much wisdom in “The Arabian Nights” and much humour. This is a brainy show that embraces very low comedy at times. I dare you not to laugh out loud.” The Kansas City Star.