Arabian Nights Performance

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Unit Two Practical Exploration RSC’s Arabian Nights by Dominic Cooke We explored the play Arabian Nights through a variety of explorative strategies, elements and mediums of drama. This practical work helped us discover storylines, themes, and characters and to experiment with performance ideas. We concentrated upon sections such as ‘The Little Beggar’, ‘The Envious Sisters’, ‘The Beheading’ and King Shahrayar and Shahrazad’s story. Each story has a moral tale, as Shahrazad’s aim is to teach Shahrayar about good in people and to attempt to try altering his perception on women. The Little Beggar is a comic story of who is thought to be dead and the ‘crime of murder’ was passed to various characters. Each character tries blaming the others for the death of the Beggar, but guilt grows too much to bear in all of them. We focused on the moments where the Tailor, Doctor, Steward and Merchant confess to the people and one after the other, the executioner puts them up to be hanged. In order to understand the guilt each character feels. We excluded the main dialogue, focusing on exaggerated mime with the addition of light-hearted, rhythmic music, which included pauses and silences that helped us choreograph our movements in time and added tension to the execution scene. We also created a fixed circle; as each execution for the different characters proceeded, the remaining characters then formed an arc facing the guilty one and walked around him expressing their opinions using body language and facial expressions. The actions were continuous until they froze in the space when another character would confess. The positions of the characters were then swapped and the circling continued again. When the circling stopped, I believe it was an effective device to explore the thoughts of the other characters in the stillness and focus on the movement of the two
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