The transformative power of storytelling lies at the heart of Arabian Nights by Dominic Cooke, which the Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School Theatre Department will present later this month. The production features 26 student actors and technicians from all seven Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro high schools. This version of Arabian Nights includes well-known stories such as those of Ali Baba and Es-Sindibad the Sailor along with more unusual tales like “The Story of the Wife Who Wouldn’t Eat.”
The show will run January 19-22 at ShenanArts nTelos Theater. Performance times are as follows: Jan. 19-21 at 7:00 p.m. and Jan. 24 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, and the performance is recommended for ages 8 and up. For tickets, please visit www.ShenanArts.org. Tickets are also available at the door or by visiting the ShenanArts box office.
This updated retelling of several tales features a strong ensemble and creative physical storytelling that is sure to delight audiences young and old. Under the joint direction of Diane Cale Stewart and Cassy Maxton-Whitacre, the actors work together to create the myriad characters, locations, sounds, and events of these stories with minimal set and props.
The SVGS production marks the Virginia state premiere of this version of Arabian Nights, which was commissioned in 2009 by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Julia Bussey leads the ensemble as the clever and imaginative Shahrazad, enchanting King Shahrayar (Sam Heller) with stories for a thousand and one nights to stave off her execution. The ensemble, each of whom plays several roles throughout the various stories, includes Callie Bandy, Grace Belcher, Emma Bryan, Katie Decker, Madison DeGoyler, Ben Delahay, Molly Diment, Nicole DiOrio, Joe Dodson, Kennedy Eakin, Shyanne Hensley, Madison Kauffmann, Kereil Kindle, Hanna Kivlighan, Mia Kyler, Will Lackey, Nathaniel Marion, Brittany Minter, Nora Oechslin, Michael Reefe, Chad Showalter, Hailey White, and Jasper Wronko. Parker Turnage joins the production team from the STEM program as stage manager.
Arabian Nights features lighting design by SVGS alumna Cori McDaniel, scenic art by SVGS student Hannah Mason, and costume design by Kate Delaney, Susan Polly, and Susan Vass. This amateur production of Arabian Nights is presented by arrangement with Nick Hern Books.