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Double Edge Theatre's 'Shahrazad' awakens all the senses

Double Edge Theatre’s “Shahrazad” takes the action both outside and inside at the company’s Ashfield farm. The production runs Wednesdays through Sundays until Aug. 24 and will likely sell out.
Recorder/Paul Franz

Double Edge Theatre’s “Shahrazad” takes the action both outside and inside at the company’s Ashfield farm. The production runs Wednesdays through Sundays until Aug. 24 and will likely sell out. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

With “a tale of love and magic” known as “Shahrazad,” Double Edge Theatre celebrates its 20th anniversary this summer on its 105-acre farm turned performance area.

It seems fitting, given the theater company’s absolutely magical transformation of a former dairy farm into a landscape of stages and trapezes, illuminated ponds and natural settings for annual spectacle.

The theater piece continues Wednesdays through Sundays until Aug. 24, incorporating poetry, live vocal and instrumental music and dance based on the traditions of the Middle East, sets created by area artists and even flight. It dazzles the senses in nighttime performances that move in a variety of ways. The audience of 80 to 90 follows the action around the site and that action includes some spectacular effects that add to the sense of wonder delivered by Matthew Glassman’s script, which is woven from “Tales of the Arabian Nights,” from the Biblical “Song of Songs,” the Persian “Conference of the Birds” and the writings of 13th-century Persian poet Rumi.

The cast includes an array of local and international actors.

Under the night sky, the open landscape provides what seems the perfect backdrop for Shahrazad to tell the king, Shahrayar, “We walk in two worlds ... one that is visible and one that is invisible. The light of the world has been scattered into a thousand fragments and they have fallen in and around us, but also some shards are hidden, deeply hidden, and we must search for them. In our stories.”

Shahrazad (Jeremy Louise Eaton), the daughter of the king’s vizier, who agrees to spend one night with the king, sees that those stories unfold for Sharayar (Glassman.) All of them are woven together on the various stages in the Double Edge production, which was directed and designed by Stacy Klein, the company’s founder and artistic director.

“If we don’t remember stories, we will never learn to follow our own,” says the vizier (Carlos Uriona.) “The majesty of the world is a mirror. Whoever sees himself therein, sees his soul and his body, and sees them completely.”

Double Edge, which first presented a summer spectacle using stories from the Arabian Nights in 2009, re-imagines its stories, including “Aladdin” and “Jullanar of the Sea,” exploring what Klein says is “the idea that women can change the world and heal through creativity and love, and that is magical.”

The theater company, which won the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s prestigious 2013 Artist Award and presents “Shahrazade” in collaboration with Charlestown Working Theater, awakens all of the senses to the stories that unravel our mysteries and reminds us that magic is everywhere.

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you,” says Shahrazade, quoting the words of Rumi. “Don’t go back to sleep ... The door is round and open; Don’t go back to sleep.”

Ticket information

Box Office: 866-811-4111; www.doubleedgetheatre.org/Shahrazad.html; Adults, $30; students, $27.50; seniors (65 & older), $27.50; children (12 & younger), $25; Family package: $100. Family package price applies to families of four, five or six (family members only). Group rate: $25 for eight or more adults, $20 for eight or more students/seniors.

Senior reporter Richie Davis has worked at The Recorder for more than 35 years. He can be reached at rdavis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 269.

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