The Wheatley Theatre Company will present its fall drama, The Arabian Nights by Mary Zimmerman, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17 to 19, at 7 p.m.
Adapted from The Book of the Thousand and One Nights, the play tells the story of a king who discovered his wife cheating and became so enraged that he killed them both. From that night on, he would marry, love and kill a virgin each day, until he is charmed by a clever young woman. Scheherazade enchants the king with tales reflecting those times that come alive as a compilation of interwoven vignettes, ranging from heart-wrenching love stories to hilarious comedies.
“This play opens our minds to the rich history and culture of the Islamic Golden Age at its height,” explained director Andrew Ardito, who teaches social studies at The Wheatley School.
“With all of the turmoil in the region, this show reminds us that free expression through the arts is imperative for a tolerant society, both then and now,” he continued. “Mary Zimmerman’s play reminds us of the magical power of storytelling. Young Scheherazade’s stories of love, infidelity, greed, revenge, hilarity and dreams highlight the rich sense of humanity that is at the heart of this ancient work.”
The director said that while putting the show together during the past couple of months, each actor has shown his or her commitment to helping, supporting, encouraging and challenging each other.
“I have so much love for this exuberant, heartwarming and moving drama,” said senior Lianna Golden. “Playing the role of Scheherazade has been an absolute pleasure. Although she is a reserved and obeying young lady, she simultaneously has the desire to share her thrilling and creative tales.”
The director noted that the stories are relatable to a modern audience of any age and shared the reaction to this production from New York Magazine, which called Zimmerman’s adaption of The Arabian Nights “unpretentiously poetic, fetchingly stylish and as humane as it is elegant.”
Golden, The Wheatley Theatre Company vice president continued, “This show is so special because every single cast member has an equally important role. We are all on stage at all times—the acting never stops. Wise kings, sneaky robbers, romantic lovers and many others are always giving all they’ve got as they’re surrounded by suspenseful, fun music and bright, eye-catching costumes.”
Senior Ariana Arralde, president of The Wheatley Theatre Company added, “It has been such an incredible experience being in this show because the cast gets to tell stories dating back before the 12th century—and it’s such a privilege to bring these tales to life in this modern world.”
Tickets cost $10, but are free for senior citizens, and can be purchased at the door or to reserve seats, go to www.ewsdonline.org and in the red type on the left, click on Wheatley Theatre Company/Purchase Tickets to Arabian Nights. Attending Wheatley students can earn Showdown points for their grade.
The Wheatley School is located at 11 Bacon Rd. in Old Westbury.