Imagine having to tell one thousand one stories in order to stay alive. That’s what Scheherazade, played by Pilar Gonzalez, did in the play Arabian Nights written by Mary Zimmerman and directed by Jennifer Tuttle. She tells all of these stories without finishing the ending to make her husband, Shahryar (Harold Ovalles) more interested in hearing the next. Eventually, Shahryar has a change of heart and doesn’t kill her by her one thousandth and one story. The play is adapted from One Thousand and One Nights, which is a collection of West and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age.
All stories were full of life, comedy, drama, and romance on different levels. The play has a total of twenty-one actors that play multiple roles in various stories. A lot of the stories incorporated sex, which was beautifully portrayed on stage through the art of dance and movement in a way where it was never vulgar, but tasteful. The set was beautiful on many ways. Lights shone from the ceiling with hanging lamps. The stage was set in the center with the audience on both sides of the theatre to allow for exceptional viewing from any seat. All of the details from the pillow cushions, to the rugs, to the treasure chests, and costumes really tied the whole Arabian theme together. It was nicely thought out.
One thing that was greatly appreciated was the fact that 98% of the music from the show came from the actors on stage with djembes, flutes, and triangles. It showed that the director thoroughly thought about the talent she put together to deliver a great show.
Arabian Nights, which was the last show of the semester, closed on Saturday night but City College’s Theatre Department still has some more entertainment left for you to ease off the stress and tension of finals. The Playwright/Director/Actor Collaboration will be December 11-13th featuring a workshop festival of new plays in Compton Goethals 318. Next semester, the department will start their round of plays in February.
For more information about the theatre department and how to get involved, visit the CG Theatre Office room 311.