Monday, May 8, 2017

The Arabian Nights

Constellation’s production of Mary Zimmerman’s The Arabian Nights is a dream come true. 
 As Constellation concludes its tenth anniversary season, it has its own story behind The Arabian Nights.  This was Founding Artistic Director Allison Arkell Stockman’s second production in 2007,  one which received great reviews and launched Constellation’s stellar career in Washington theater circles.  

That production also launched the collaboration with Tom Teasley, a world-renowned composer, instrumentalist, and teacher who created The Arabian Nights on his CD All the World’s a Stage

 Their formula of great stories accompanied by live original music continues. While it  might seem daunting for a small theater company with only 100 seats to attempt world classics,  Constellation shows never miss its target which is the human heart.

Eleven ensemble actors portray 40 characters from the legendary tales of a 1,001 nights.    Veronica del Cerro is the famed storyteller Scheherezade, with Ryan Sellers as the ruthless ruler Shahryar.   Matthew Aldwin McGee, who does double-duty as a member of the ensemble, playing Jester and others.  Lilian Oben is most impressive in her display of knowledge and wisdom as  Sympathy the Learned while Shravan Amin as Madman and  Jeremy Keith Hunter as Pastrycook are quite exuberant!

Making their Constellation debuts are Surasree Das, Thomas Howley, Yesenia Iglesias, Dallas Milholland, and Kevin Sockwell; and understudies Linda Bard, Justin Jarod Bell, Thomas Ellis, and Melissa Reed.

As the tales unfold,  one leading into another,  the  costumes continually  dazzle the eyes— thanks to costume designer Erik Teague— while our ears are enchanted by the musical magic of Tom Teasley throughout. 

The entire company join in spirited dances and fights, thanks to the choreography of Casey Keleba and Verionque Kim Tran.  Scenic designer A.J. Guban, with Matthew Aldwin McGee as property designer and lightening designer Jason Arnold, provide the imaginative setting and perfect atmosphere for recounting these tales.

Scheherezade’s storytelling is never-ending—that is what we wish for Constellation in its next decades.  

Constellation is at 1835 14th St NW,