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Thursday, February 17, 2011

一千零一夜




一个朋友的爸爸送给她本地剧院 Arena Stage 的季票,全套是双人份的。她邀请我一起看其中之一,今晚看了当代剧作家 Mary Zimmerman 编导的 “一千零一夜”。

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It was f**king fantastic. One of the best plays I have seen. My mind was blown into tiny pieces. Right now I'm overwhelmed and speechless.

Fundamentally, it is about the transformative power of stories, about how they make us human.

Zimmerman chose a string of unfamiliar stories from 1001 Nights to populate the play and thus grips the audience's attention from the first moment to the last. They made me laugh, made me cry, and touched my heart. The stories are so rich and so intimate and so raw and so full of humanity, with all its follies and tenderness and exhilaration.

Even before the King put down his knife, we were already thoroughly convinced that, after hearing the stories, he could not help but change from a murderer and tyrant to a ... human being. Because, you see, the power of stories is connecting us in a deep way. If stories from hundreds of years ago and a world away about lives of people so foreign and strange can make us gasp in recognition --- That is exactly how I feel too! --- then we no longer feel alone inside our head.

A lonely mind is a man locked in solitary confinement in an empty prison for life. Even the introverts need to feel connected in some way with others and need to share one's emotions, intellect, and heart with others. Since telepathy has not grown out of our evolution, the best and most reliable way to access our fellow humans mind and heart is actually fiction, not talking face to face. In passing along the stories we learn from our ancestors, we bare our soul with each other and never feel alone.

It is this connection with others, which Scheherazade builds brick by brick, story after story, in the king's mind and heart, that pulls him out of his spiritual seclusion and back into humanity, that breathes life into his stony soul.

It is this connection with others that gives us our humanity. It is why we need stories like we need air and water and food, and that without stories we are alone and lost.

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