Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Sunday, 11 March 2012 15:20

A long (Arabian) night, but worth considering ...

Written by Dennis Corcoran
Rate this item
(0 votes)

The Details

A long (Arabian) night, but worth considering ...
stlshakespeare.org

Mary Zimmerman's The Arabian Nights is a show you just might have to tough out to gain the full measure of, but I think it's worth the effort.

The play is Mary Zimmerman’s take on the "The Arabian Nights: The Book of 1,001 Nights", a compilation of many stories all set within its own “frame” story - sometimes complex, but with seemingly endless variety and, hence, interesting.

This show was a lesson for me.  I purposely did NOT research it prior to seeing it.  I wanted to have what I thought might be a more typical audience member’s experience. 

Oh, my …!  Mid-way through Act 1, I wanted to bolt out of the theatre.  “HIGH SCHOOL” screamed in my head: amateurish acting; poor, uncoordinated singing; silly, slapstick, naughty schoolyard boy humor; and a set whose “stately” arabesque pillars rocked precariously when leaned on. 

I was amazed.  I’ve seen shows with some of the same cast and crew and couldn’t believe this was their considered artistic output.

I didn’t leave – rude is not in the job description.  I stuck it out - and I’m very glad I did.  Afterwards, I did my homework and discovered that my reaction is, apparently, exactly what Zimmerman intended.

Act I is overly long, even tedious – maybe 1 hour and 10 minutes.  But I think, too, it is tailor-made for those with massive silly streaks.  Many in the well-attended opening night audience laughed and laughed a lot.  Act 2, which is much shorter, thankfully, had all the power and pull on the imagination that I associate with good theatre.  The acting in Act 2 became VERY good; the story no longer slapstick; the coordination of voices much improved, and by the final fade to black, I felt I had experienced something worth seeing.

There were some opening night flubs: missed/garbled lines, some shaky scenery and some very difficult to understand passages in which several actors speak the same lines in a not-sufficient unison.  All of this, I hope, will be ironed out under Jef Awada's able direction.  And there were moments of real pleasure, especially in Act 2, when the ensemble's skills really came to the fore.

While I find the Black Cat Theatre a somewhat uncomfortable venue for a show, and the over-long Act 1 of this play a bit much, I’m glad I went.  I was not familiar with Mary Zimmerman’s work prior to this and am looking forward to seeing St. Louis Community College – Meramec’s April production of her The Secret in the Wings.

If you like silly high school-like comedy, you’ll like The Arabian Nights, Act 1.  If you like very well-done drama, you’ll like Act 2 of the The Arabian Nights.  And if you like both, this play might be just right for you - a faithful rendering of Zimmerman's work by St. Louis Shakespeare.

Additional Info

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr
KDHX Blog

Local Artist Spotlight


Tok Releases Gold Dollar Hen House Volume 3

Tue April 8
Tok is a Festus based rock band who has been rocking St. Louis for 20 years. They are due to release their third installment of their Gold Dollar Hen House collection on February 28, 2014 at Schlafly's…

KDHX Recommends

April
Tuesday
22

Tuesdays at KDHX Sessions: Worm-A-Rama

Tuesdays at KDHX Sessions presents Earth Day Worm-A-Rama with Jean Ponzi on Tuesday, April 22 at 7:30pm at The Stage. This visual-musical celebration of living on earth will feature musical guest, Augusta Bottoms Consort, tuneful...


April
Wednesday
23

Jimbo Mathus

KDHX welcomes Jimbo Mathus to Off Broadway on April 23th.   For more info, offbroadwaystl.com.


April
Friday
25

KDHX Presents Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' Metro Youth Program

KDHX presents Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' Metro Youth Program April 25 and 26 at The Stage at KDHX. Information and reservations available at Shakespeare Festival St. Louis online.   Modeled after a similar...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Upcoming Events HAPPENING

Online Users

5 users and 9159 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook