Cornell College presents ‘Arabian Nights’

MOUNT VERNON — The classic fables of “Arabian Nights” come to life in Cornell College’s Theatre Department production of “Arabian Nights” opening Friday, Feb. 12. Senior Greg Redlawsk of Iowa City directs playwright Mary Zimmerman’s powerful and humorous modern take on the timeless stories at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Feb. 12-13 and 19-20, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, in Kimmel Theatre.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for non-Cornell students. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling the box office at (319) 895-4293, or at the door. Faculty, staff, and students of Cornell are admitted without charge.

The stories of “Arabian Nights” have inspired countless retellings over the centuries in a wide variety of media. This version, by award-winning playwright and director Mary Zimmerman, tells the familiar tale of Scheherazade, newly married to the Caliph Shahryar. Despite his avowed intention of putting her to death, she attempts to forestall her fate by the power and suspense of the stories she tells him.

Scheherazade is played by first-year student Tessa Cacek of Ramsey, Minn., and Shahryar is portrayed by senior Jordan Stacey of Chicago. They are joined by Lindsay Tornquist, Simon Mackenzie, Natalie Kropf and others, most of whom play multiple roles throughout the evening. The show’s costumes were co-designed by sophomore Osean Perez and junior Risa Alecci, with hair and makeup design by junior Amanda Newman.

This play is intended for a mature audience. There are strong themes and some sexual situations.

Cornell’s theatre department was ranked 16th in the nation by The Princeton Review’s “The Best 371 Colleges” in 2009.

PHOTO: Tessa Cacek portrays Scheherazade and Jordan Stacey is Shahryar in Cornell College’s production of “Arabian Nights,” on stage Feb. 12-21. Photo by Andrew Decker.