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Directed By Jo Reader.

Arabian Nights - RSC version - adapted by Dominic Cooke

Original music score by Gary Yershon

Directed by Jo Reader     Assistant Director – Sharon Pickles

Queen’s Hall Theatre, Cranbrook

Dates TBC May/June 2021 


Below is an outline of the scenes and characters.

Frame story – Shahrazad, Dinarzad (her sister), Vizier (her father), King Shahrayar, headsman, Queen, jester, slave, bride, company.

The Story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves – The thieves are played as a chorus, becoming the horses, the cave, the treasure inside. (reversible cloaks) Kasim is cut in to four pieces. Characters - Shahrazad, Shahrayar, Dinarzad, Ali Baba, 6 thieves, Captain, Kasim (Ali’s brother), Ali’s wife, Kasim’s wife, Marjanah the clever slave-girl (performs exotic dance), druggist, Baba Mustapha (poor cobbler), Ali’s son.

The Story of the Little Beggar – comedy with slapstick death routine, singing and a tambourine, choking on a fish bone and comedy hanging scene. Characters -Shahrazad, Beggar (must be able to fall over/tumble/perform slapstick/be agile), Tailor, Tailor’s wife, passers-by, Shahrayar, Dinarzad, maid, doctor, doctor’s wife, steward, merchant (drunk, urinates, fights), watchman, chief of police, King, hangman.

The Story of Es-Sindibad the Sailor – Es-Sindibad the Sailor tells the story using a puppet of his younger self. Company create images and characters using masks, models, objects, and puppets. Characters -Shahrayar, Dinarzad, Shahrazad, Es-Sindibad the porter (sings), page, 3 wealthy merchants, 2 male servants, 2 slave-girls, Es-Sindibad the Sailor (uses puppet), company.

How Abu Hassan Broke Wind – the tale that finally makes King Shahrayar laugh. Characters - Shahrayar, Dinarzad, Shahrazad, Abu Hassan (must be able to mime a huge and deafening fart), marriage broker, bride, uncle, aunt, preacher, fakir, friend, foe, King, girl, mother.

The Story of the Wife Who Wouldn’t Eat – A gruesome tale of a flesh-eating wife and sorcery. Sidi 1 tells the story and Sidi 2 acts it out in flashback – they are identifiable as the same person by distinctive items of the same clothing. Some audience participation. Characters - Shahrayar/ghoul, Shahrazad, Dinarzad, Sidi 1, Sidi 2, Amina/horse, Haroun, company as dogs, baker, customer 1, customer 2, sorceress.

The Story of the Envious Sisters – a moral tale closely mirroring the King’s own story. Uses puppets, cloaks, branches, props, dolls. Characters - Shahrazad/talking bird/youngest sister, Eldest sister, second sister, Dinarzad/Princess Parizade, King/Shahrayar, Vizier, Prince Bahman, steward, steward’s wife, Prince Perviz, passers-by, woman, dervish, head cook, company as stones, tree, birds.

The Story without an Ending – frame story – Shahrazad, Dinarzad, Vizier, King Shahrayar. Characters from previous stories – beggar, Vizier, dogs, thieves, snakes, bird, Marjanah, Es-Sindibad, eagle, Ali Baba. Full company dance a celebration of rebirth.

Epilogue – frame story – Shahrayar, Shahrazad, Dinarzad and full company.

This play is a huge challenge in complexity and style. It will be exciting, rewarding and fun for everyone involved.

Please contact me for more information.         Jo Reader -

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