Sep 2, 2017

Arabian Nights on Stage: Bare Chests and Turbans

I knew I'd find beefcake in The Arabian Nights eventually.  A dramatic adaption by Dominic Cooke, first performed in 1997, is making the rounds of high school and college drama departments.  It goes back to the original  Persian frame story, with Shahrazad telling stories to King Shahrayar so he won't have her executed in the morning.  She tells six, so each actor plays several parts:

1. Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves
2. Es-Sindbad the Sailor
3. The Little Beggar
4. How Abu Hassan Broke Wind
5. The Wife Who Wouldn't Eat
6. The Envious Sisters

I hadn't heard of 4-6 either.  I suspect that they were put in place to give female performers something to do in the male-heavy traditional opus.

A 2005 version by Adam Forde and David Perkins gives Shahrazad a sister-confidant, and includes the stories of Ali Baba, The Fisherman and the Genie, The Ass and His Ass, Sindbad, and the Little Beggar.

And there have been many other more local adaptions, thrusting lots of guys into turban and golden robes, or tunics with no shirt beneath, or topless, their chests and biceps golden in the stage light.

Brad Ogden performed as Shahrayar at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

More after the break.

Bobby Wilhelmson in a 2-man Arabian Nights fantasy at the Southington Public Library.

Adam Jeffrey Pason is mounted on a guy's shoulders. He went on to get a Ph.D. in Playwrighting from Western Michigan University.

A bare chest at Virginia Commonwealth University.

If this genie is granting wishes, I have one for him.

Not a drama, but I couldn't resist posting it.  It's two unidentified guys in a happy mood at the 2015 "Arabian Nights Fantasy" Senior Prom.  In Chaffee, Missouri,  population 2,955.  Could they have gone to prom together in small town Missouri?

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