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Theater Production of “Arabian Nights” Examines Cultural Barriers

Loyola Marymount University’s Department of Theatre Arts will present Mary Zimmerman’s “Arabian Nights,” which will run for seven performances in the Strub Theatre Oct. 1-10.


The play is an adaptation of the ancient tale of Scheherazade, who each night cleverly distracted her murdering husband with stories in order to live another night. Katharine Noon, assistant professor of theater and director of the play, said she chose Zimmerman’s interpretation because it takes the lesser-known of the stories and presents them in a very physical manner while keeping intact all the cultural elements.


“It’s about storytelling and its restorative powers,” Noon said. “The focus is on being human and being flawed, and how do we look at the humanity in another when we thought we couldn’t.”


Noon also said the play was chosen because of its relevance to current tensions in the Middle East, and the misunderstandings people may have about other people and cultures.


“This play does a lot to bridge the gap that we are all human. We all like to laugh, we all cry, we all enjoy and share things in common,” Noon said. “It breaks down some preconceptions about the Middle East, although it’s not religious or political.”


Fifteen performers from various majors and departments, ranging from sophomores to seniors, were cast in the production. Kelsey Ion ’11, a business major with a minor in theater arts, will be playing Scheherazade. She said her voice and movement course, taught by Noon, best helped her prepare for the role.


“Katharine’s class helped me build better presentation skills on stage,” said Ion. “The most challenging part was making my character believable, and trying to display the emotional parts like when she falls in love.”


Mary Zimmerman’s “Arabian Nights” will run Oct.1–3 and Oct.7–10 at 8 p.m. in the Strub Theatre. Tickets are available in the LMU Ticket Agency at 310.338.7588.