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Lake Braddock High School Arabian Nights

By • May 7th, 2012 • Category: Cappies

The theater darkens, drums begin playing and suddenly they’re behind you along with fifty or so actors staring straight ahead as the lights on stage project a night sky. The beginning is an experience for all the senses that truly sets the stage for what is to follow. Lake Braddock’s production of Arabian Nights follows the stories woven by a young woman who must captivate the king every night with her tales in order to save her life. The huge cast and detailed tech made the show a colorful spectacle.

They play is a series of plays within plays and requires real commitment when most of the cast is playing multiple roles. One of the more notable actors was Nick Edwards who captivated the audience as a “Madman” and made them laugh later as The Kadi, listing off a bunch of things that supposedly fit into one small bag, including a pregnant cat and cow. Edward’s physical comedy was matched by that of Sarah Fick, who played Perfect Love, in a scene that showed their abilities to play off one another and the audience.

The cast as a whole spent a lot of time lounging just off stage watching the tales unfold. Some stayed in character and reacted throughout the whole show, especially Tony Talcott, who played Shahryar, the king who demands the stories. Even with the varied use of the theater, the cast as a whole was very easy to hear, regardless of whether actors were in the aisles or on the other side of the auditorium. The show also required a lot of lines that were to be said by more than one person. The cast clearly worked on the cadence of the words and, for the most part, were perfectly in time, something that was a joy to hear.

Visually the show was eye candy. The colors of the costumes were bright and vivid with a hint of sparkle, which really added to the theme. The lighting design for the show, by Megan Seibel, however, was really the show stopper. The creative use of eastern inspired lights suspended over the audience illuminated the scenes that occurred between the rows of audience members. The cyclorama at the back of the stage was a constant reminder of the time of day and the mood of the show. Other creative lighting choices included the use of strips of light to indicate a jail scene instead of using actual bars. This really furthered the idea that it was story-telling instead of planned performances.

The show kept the viewer involved by not being tied down to the stage and encouraging audience participation. The story-telling really came alive in this production, and Mary Zimmerman’s subtle political message was portrayed right up to the very end.

by Heather Storeide of Thomas Jefferson High School

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