Magical ‘Nights’ spins tales richly told

Andrea plays a theif in a barrel in one of the colorful stories
Andrea plays a theif in a barrel in one of the colorful stories

The magical stories of Shahrazad’s 1,001 Arabian Nights come to life with the simple combination of a storyteller’s hypnotic voice, a richly colored backdrop and some extraordinarily dexterous performances in the James Barr Auditorium at Homestead High School.  Adapter Dominic Cooke selects just four stories, ranging from the familiar Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves to the more obscure How Abu Hassan Broke Wind for a mix of tales that seem exotic at first but soon reveal familiar themes of jealousy, greed, bitterness, love, longing, and loss.

There’s a danger with Arabian Nights that the darker elements of the stories – executions, treachery and betrayal – can overshadow the entertainment value. That was true of an Mary Zimmerman’s production. But not in Homestead’s production. They injects humor throughout which stays just on the right side of silliness. There’s a touch of slapstick and in one of the tales a character suffers from a prolonged, embarrassing bout of flatulence – that had the whole audience in stitches.

Shahrazad, Alex Gieske, tells her last story to the King, Wiliam Toney
Shahrazad, Alex Gieske, tells her last story to the King, William Toney

William Toney gives an impressive performance as King Shahrayar whose anger melts when he finally recognizes true love; Mark Usatinsky excels in multiple roles ranging from the Vizier to a thief and guard; and Kia Pourmodheji plays with aplomb a variety of characters from Ali Baba to the Little Beggar.

The rest of the cast throw themselves into their roles with vigor.

Arabian Nights Banner 2

Performed at Homestead High School’s James Barr Auditorium.
5000 W. Mequon Rd
Mequon WI 53092

May 1 and 2 @ 7:30pm
May 3 @ 2pm

Students $7
Adults $8

Or Donate a children’s book and get $1 off your ticket!!!

The HHS Seniors of the AVID program are collecting children’s books for the Books for Kids at Next Door foundation.

The organization needs the following books:
– Infant/toddler board books
– Preschool picture/read to me type books (Dr. Suess, Eric Carle, Lois Ehlert, etc.)
– Early reading books for elementary kids.

The books can be new or gently used and will be given to children in need in the Milwaukee area.

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