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Modern writers inspired by the original Arabian Nights

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 07, 2012

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Imaginative, inventive and evocative, Arab Nights is an Arabian Nights for a modern age. Acclaimed young company Metta Theatre rides the wave of change currently breaking across the Middle East with a compelling collection of short plays, written by writers from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria in response to the Arab Spring.

Six writers have created pieces inspired by the original Arabian Nights stories and weaved into its framework. Queen Shahrazad brings these stories to life, presented directly to the audience (representing King Shahrayar and his court), giving them the power to decide whether she lives or dies after each. The stories include diabolical djinnis, an ancient wall, 1,000 perfect plastic dolls on the banks of the Nile, a modern-day Sinbad and a shoe-obsessed dictator's wife.

The writers include a young Iranian playwright who remains anonymous for political reasons.

They have collaborated in the process of creating the play through dialogue across countries and cultures facilitated by Skype and other forms of communication.

A company of three – Natalie Dew, Dina Mousawi and Lahcen Razzou – will perform Arab Nights at the Barnfield Theatre next week in association with Exeter's Bike Shed Theatre.

The production includes a fusion of classical Arabic and contemporary Western music by award-winning young Lebanese composer Bushra El Turk.

Arab Nights is at the Barnfield Theatre on December 13. Box office 01392 270 891.

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