"Director/sound designer Jeff Mills brings a wealth of relevant experience to the task, and dramaturge Sahar Sajadieh has done a wonderful job of fine-tuning the cast’s approach to the many potentially unfamiliar cultural references that appear throughout the script... given what I observed on opening night, this may be a case of too much of a good thing."-Santa Barbara Independent https://www.independent.com/news/2014/may/13/review-arabian-nights-ucsbs-performing-arts-t/
In Thousand and One Nights, better known in English as Arabian Nights, Scheherazade’s cliffhanger stories prevent her husband, the cruel ruler Shahryar, from murdering her. After 1,001 nights, Shahryar is cured of his madness, and Scheherazade and Shahryar live happily as equals. The Arabian Nights adaptation by Mary Zimmerman offers a blend of the lesser-known stories with the recurring theme of how the magic of storytelling holds the power to change people. The Arabian Nightswill bring many of these tales into the present day and focus on the relevancy of their eternal themes.
This ACTING UP FRONT production at UCSB Performing Arts Theater, directed by Jeff Mills with the dramaturgy of Sahar Sajadieh, was presented in a promenade-like style where audiences were expected to be prepared to participate fully in the show. The hope was to enchant the audience on such a level that they let go of whatever obsolete anger and bitterness that they may be holding on to in favor of the freedom and joy that storytelling can create.