Nearly everyone is familiar with this collection of folktales, also known as One Thousand and One Nights, and its infamous framing device: Scheherazade, the vizier’s daughter, is set to be married and then killed by the king; she forestalls this destiny by convincing the king to hear a story, which she then draws out for 1,001 nights by ending each evening on a cliffhanger. (In other words, Scheherazade invented narrative television.) It’s hard to ignore that, from the start, this book of short stories is deeply misogynistic; the problematic gender dynamics of its time are pervasive and often stomach churning.
There are tales of horror, crime, sci-fi and, of course, fantasy. (There is not, as pop culture has led us to believe, a tale of Aladdin, nor of Ali Baba and the thieves.) Without The Arabian Nights—and its genies, sea monsters, automata with life breathed into them, demons commingling with humans and more—it’s hard to imagine certain elements of works by H.P. Lovecraft, H.G. Wells, Jorge Louis Borges, A.S. Byatt, Edgar Allan Poe, and the entire comic book industry, just to name a few.
The 1001 Nights adapted to the traditional theatre form. A hybrid storytelling/ theatrical piece with century old Karagöz Shadow puppets.
A kaladeiscopic story within a story within a story of a storyteller’s discovery of her great-great grandfather’s shadow puppets in the attic of the family home in Aleppo during the 1sth war. A journey that leads her to 1001 Nights and Scherazad, the bold brilliant storyteller and weaver of tales who counters destruction with creation. In Syrian and Turkish storytellers brings that fantastic story to the stage.