What's it about.
A modern, musical retelling of Arabian Nights, where the characters are aware that they are in the wrong story, in the wrong time, and a few are even aware that they are in a play and they are trying to figure out where their story intersects with real people in the modern day. Meanwhile, a Jewish man and a Palestinian woman start dating while the world is on the brink of dangerous nuclear war.
Editor's note: This is purposely written 'out of order' so...just go with it.
–And what even is modern life, I ask myself as I walk through the night towards home after this show. A skunk skulks beside me in the middle of the street. I think it's mewling, like it's lost its momma. I'm thinking.
We have reached a point where it feels like we need to be tracking current events at all times, just maintain safety. We have to know everything about everyone involved in the media we are consuming, at risk of flipping into that realm of being problematic for liking something. And sometimes, like The Hobbit or Sausage Party, you have to be keenly aware of how much people were misused and mistreated during the productions or the fallouts of those productions.
Or, you find yourself being forced to read the headlines every couple of hours because you need to know if there's been a mass shooting again. Or, living in New York, as this show spins around to discuss, you're just always at risk of being taken out by a bomb or a nuclear detonation. I take the train into Manhattan minimum twice a week, and every time I am forced to think, "if a nuke hit, I'd be disintegrated because I'm here." That's not living.
Ask yourself some questions about the world you're living in today. See things that help you think. OTNAOD:AP-MF helped me think. Helped me put some certain questions about the direction of my life into perspective. And, thinking about life...
There's an Eric Andre clip that I've been thinking about recently. Where a live bear is coming at him on the stage, right? As the bear approaches, Eric realizes that he doesn't actually think this is funny anymore, now that the Actual Grizzly Bear is getting closer.
He says: "I, no longer, am a fan of this bit..." before the Grizzly Bear descends upon his desk.
I've been down that road too many times. Where my thoughts wander. The same things that hurt me repeat before I shake the thoughts to something entertaining, something distracting, only to then repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.
I miss them, a lot. It's been 7 years, this year since I lost them, you know? I was in Oregon with a friend last August and we were at the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. She was showering and I was upset for no reason, and I just remember bursting into tears for some reason. Didn't really know why until months later.
Alan and Dahna have a relationship that hits. I want her to be happy, you know? But we shared a lot of promises and we were far too close. I never really considered it being something she would grow to hate and want to push me out, but I guess I was too deep in my own narrative, trying to pull the road's direction a way it wasn't meant to go. That was my Jinn's wish gone awry.
I don't know if I am going anywhere after I graduate in a month.
The show really was a technical, fantastical marvel, I wanted to see it go on forever in that moment. The stories being told were so fascinating that..
To begin with, the show's method of delivery was memory and escapism. How must it feel to be read something and see so clearly yourself and those around you as the characters inhabiting the fiction. An old English teacher of mine once talked about how characters never die because their books were always picked up to be read again.
But this show brought up something I have thought about before: how many times do the characters need to relive the same story before they are allowed to go forward? When does the story change? Arabian Nights, as this show explained, was translated from Arabic into French. Stories were added, and then translated from French back into Arabic, and that became the canon. So these characters were broken free, and returned as new folks.
So, here in the show, I find myself focused on this deeply human love story, surrounded by characters who have been trying to break free from a story they have told a million times before. Stories that have been told so many times, surrounded by a love story so lost in a maze, that they remix and change and never find their way back the same way. A scattered nightmare from which someone stumbles and only stumbles further into their rehearsed routine.
I didn't even notice the missing, broken parts until later.
What is it to take control of the story ahead of you? It is hard, you can get lost in it. The real tragedy is that if you hold on too tightly to the idea of moving your story to where you want them to be, you lose clarity. You can become too focused on where the story is supposed to go that you end up swirling down the wrong warp pipe, towards the future you hated the most.
Or maybe taking control is simply living, moment to moment, wondering where you are meant to go next, judging based on the most recent event in your life? You dive headlong into life and get lost amidst the meandering rivers and streams?
I saw a show this week called One Thousand Nights And One Day, which threw a lot at me.
Tell us about your experience.
In the comments below.