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Directors Notes

I feel like I should write 3 notes for Arabian Nights.  So I’m going to. 

As a member of the team of writers who created the script:

Several of us worked together to create the script for Arabian Nights.  I probably did the least writing of any contributor, but I was involved in a fair number of conversations about what the show should be about and what it should be like.  A major theme was the power of words in creating our reality.  Naturally, the words we put down in the script created the reality of each character; the anti-hero Sultan is unable to create a positive story for himself until the heroine Scheherazade uses her stories to teach him the power words can have, and have had on his life.  But the power of the word goes much farther than just the fate of fictional characters.  The words of Arabian Nights have influenced our realities as well, as we have thought about these characters, stories and ideas for 2 years.  When the curtain rises on our play, we’ll turn over the words to you, hoping they will have an influence on you and your story too.

 

As a member of the board of Next Stage Productions:

Utah has a lot of community theatre.  Like, a LOT.  What possessed us to make another?  Two major ideas make us different from most theatre groups in Utah.  1. A commitment to developing our own new works.  Arabian Nights is our first full-length piece since the formation of the company.  (Although many of us worked on the creation of Robin Hood: Legend of the Sherwood Bandit, which was written and produced before we became a formalized company.  We also wrote and produced EPIC: an Audience Participation Fantasy-Adventure, which is a one-act play.)  We hope this will not be our last original work.  2. Our belief that the efforts of a group of collaborators are far greater than the efforts of the same number of people working alone.  Every member of Next Stage Productions has a special degree of ownership of each production, because every member of the troupe contributes in far more ways than the traditional model of theatre allows.  For example, one of the members of this production helped teach fight choreography for auditions, works as the education out-reach coordinator for this production, as well as performing in the show.  By working in so many areas of the production, he owns the play in a special way.  The same can be said for almost every member of the troupe.

 

As the director of Arabian Nights:

Sometimes a play feels like a monarchy, with the director ruling the production.  All decisions stem from his mind.  If he has a bad idea, everyone must suffer with it.  No one dares declare the emperor naked until a critic shows up.  Then it is far too late.  Not only is the emperor naked, he has left a cast full of actors onstage in various states of undress before a large audience.  The director has the good fortune to be in the audience (or backstage, or hitting the pub in anonymity) while his poor cast publicly suffers from his poor judgment.  The collaborative spirit of Next Stage Productions creates a different ideal.  When I am running a rehearsal, every member of the cast is my partner.  The ideas we can create together are more exciting, more innovative, and (best of all) more representative of who we are as a group.  Additionally, I can’t hide.  Our structure invites me as the director to share the stage with my cast.  What a great incentive to make a show I’m not embarrassed to appear in!  And truly, I couldn’t be farther from embarrassment.  I’m proud of the work of this great team of volunteer actors, technicians, designers, writers and lovers of story.  I hope you enjoy our work as much as we have.