Thanks to Paul for passing along this article on the upcoming stage production of the Nights at the Toronto arts festival "Luminato" this summer.
The article outlines the project, spearheaded by UK based director Tim Supple, which presents a cast of 25 culled from Supple's travels throughout the Middle East. The play promises "adult" versions of the Nights.
"We're talking about a work that has been multiply abused and misunderstood, adapted and changed to become the thing that we think of as The Arabian Nights," said Tim Supple, the British director who has been commissioned to bring the story to the stage. He joined Price on Monday to unveil Luminato's 2011 theatre and dance program.
"The true thing is something completely different. ... [The stories] are far more brutal, erotic, frank and adult. Somehow in their history they became flipped into versions that were child-friendly."
Supple, the artistic director of the London-based company Dash Arts, is working with Lebanese novelist Hanan al-Shaykh to adapt the text. The main story begins with King Shahryar. Burned by an unfaithful wife, he marries a virgin every night and kills her in the morning. His newest queen, Shahrazad, delays her execution by telling the king incredible tales that never end.
Since the spring of 2009, Supple has travelled to Arabicspeaking countries including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Yemen to work with performers.
"We'd work for four, five, six hours at a time with groups of performers, actors, dancers and musicians to deeply understand who they are as artists and so they could understand who I am and trust me," he said.
Supple met hundreds of artists but chose a cast of 25. The production will be performed in two parts in English, Arabic and French with subtitles."
Gulf Life is Gulf Air's in-flight magazine and it's a very stylish and well put together affair. Most of the articles are written in both Arabic and English which makes it a great way to practice your Arabic reading alongside the English translation.
Their September 2009 edition has several Nights related articles including some info on Tahir Shah's book, some background of the Nights, an article on the giant hakawati statue they are planning on building in Dubai (a giant human shape which tells stories (ala the Nights) through microphones in the park), an article on Tim Supple - a dramatist who is currently travelling through the Middle East in order to collect and, at the end of his journey, present on stage in the UK, a Nights spectacle, and a great article on my favorite storyteller Abu Shady, who sits atop his storytelling chair in the An-Nowfara cafe in the old city of Damascus each night and tells stories, several from and related to the Nights.
In any event, Gulf Life has its magazine free and online, so check out the Nights edition (and their other magazines if you like):