In 1906, Strindberg wrote a humorous fable, in uncounted iambic verse, appropriate for children. Leave it to Strindberg Rep to present Abu Casem’s Slippers as part of their ongoing mission to produce all of the Number One Swede’s theatrical legacy. Janet Bentley directs an ensemble of eight, who tackle fifteen roles in the busy world of Baghdad under Caliph Haroun al-Rashid (see: The Arabian Nights, 401-402). Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey’s modern translation is delightful. Strindberg, who may have been falling in love at the time he wrote this piece, delivers a charming, colorful story about human kindness, in which he weaves extensions from French fairy tales into the world of Baghdad, then the largest city in the world, a metropolis with a Persian name, run by an Arabian dynasty.
|photo by Jonathan Slaff|
What a joy has been brought to us from Baghdad via Stockholm. You-Shin Chen’s sets pitch us headlong onto the banks of the Tigris, into a fabulous forest, and into pleasurable places where fountains can be found. Jessa-Raye Court’s costumes are a sumptuous rainbow of tall hats, crazy kaftans and delightful monkey faces. I should also mention the beards which female cast members wear so well that my seven year-old daughter was fooled. Like a lucky drachma, you will find Lucky Pearto’s lighting and rejoice. Andy Evan Cohen brings dumbek, oud and other trancey instruments together to create one heck of a hammam soundtrack. Janet Bentley keeps this pageant moving as fast as the arrow of love flies and the monkey dances, which is to say very nicely indeed.