Last time Arabian Nights appeared on Berkeley Rep’s stage, it scored more critical acclaim than the Beatles on Ed Sullivan or Jesus on Easter - as well as nightly standing ovations with various forms of enthusiastic whooping. So Berkeley Rep wisely resurrected this gorgeous piece of theater for a limited run. With Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman at the helm, Arabian Nights is the infamous tale of a bride who spins a provocative web of genies, jesters, thieves and kings in hopes of saving her life.
Fabled archetype of the power of storytelling, Scheherazade’s spell extends as fully to the audience as to her scripted husband - a true testament to Zimmerman's directing chops. Funny and poignant, the human experience is given broad scope in her tales: greed, honor, sex, and revenge - all culminating in redemption and love. The San Francisco Chronicle called it one of 2008’s best shows, and New York Magazine called it “theater at its most unpretentiously poetic, most fetchingly stylish, as humane as it is elegant.”
December 11-30. Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison Street, Berkeley. Tickets are $17-73 at (510) 647-2949 or berkeleyrep.org.