This production of One Thousand and One Nights shines as a sum of its parts. The stage set's two towers and stairs (shipped across the Atlantic, along with the costumes and the massive cast) serve as scene setters for a king's court, a bazaar, and a caravan throughout the show's three segments. A sheer screen hangs in front of the stage for the entirety of the first set, enabling dual layers of projections that provide a believable 3D effect as they portray an outer layer of castle walls or a fiery inferno.
Subtitles acknowledged "this great land of the free and home of the brave" that has "opened up its doors to the world and embraced humanity." In 2019, those words might sound sarcastic or tongue-in-cheek from an American troupe, but it's refreshing — albeit a little silly and out of touch with the country's current environment — to see them genuinely expressed by foreign visitors.
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In the dancing itself, there are moves and scenes that show off feats of skill and strength, but there's nothing that would compare to Spoleto Festival USA's more physical circus-oriented acts. Likewise, the costumes are colorful and elaborate, but most wouldn't be worth individually viewing in a museum, if they weren't spinning wildly in unison on the bodies of dancers. And the music, in its unique Middle Eastern adaptation of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade and Ravel's Bolero, is a fascinating, perfect accompaniment to the dances, but its reworkings with Eastern instrumentation don't surpass the original material.
Altogether, however, they form a spectacular work of art. The beauty of One Thousand and One Nights lies in its feats of coordination and choreography. It's an easy show to relax and enjoy, if you simply sit back and absorb the vivid visual spectacle.