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COURIER LIFE, M 24-7 AR. 22-28, 2019 55
By Aidan Graham She’s being honored among thieves!
A new play in Sunset Park will
put a feminist lens on a familiar tale
from the Middle East. “Marjana and the
Forty Thieves,” opening on April 1 at the
Doxsee theater, tells the classic tale of Ali
Baba and the titular bandits, but puts the
focus on the story’s overlooked protagonist,
according to the play’s director.
“Marjana is the slave woman who
solves every problem, and saves the day
again and again. The focus on her really
does come from the story. She drives the
action,” said David Herskovits, founder of
the Target Margin Theater.
The story follows Ali Baba as he stumbles
upon, and then steals, an extravagant
treasure assembled by 40 bloodthirsty
bandits. When they come for revenge,
Marjana, a slave in Ali Baba’s household,
foils their plot with tenacity and quick
Target Margin’s adaptation highlights
the role-reversal inherent in the tale of a
powerless woman taking charge of the
situation, according to Herskovits.
“We try to take material and make it
more true to itself, a more complete representation
of what the story already is,”
During the intimate 75-minute performance,
a five-member cast will act out
the story, with one actor standing in for
all 40 thieves. The audience will relax on
couches and sofa cushions while sipping
on tea, which the director hopes will give
the night an inviting, joyous feeling.
“We want people to feel comfortable.
We want it to feel intimate. It’s a dense
text, but we want it to be adventurous and
artistically fun,” he said.
“Marjana” is the latest installment of
Target Margin Theater’s multi-year exploration
of “The One Thousand and One
Nights,” which started with last year’s
production “Pay No Attention to the Girl.”
Herskovits said he was drawn to the
source material for its excess of drama and
vast cultural influences.
“The text is so rich in the diversity of
its stories. And ‘One and One Thousand
Nights’ emerges from many different cultures
and areas as well. No culture has
authoritative ownership of the story. It’s
like the Silk Road, because it takes you all
the way from the Pacific to North Africa,”
said the director.
“Marjana and the Forty Thieves” at
the Doxsee 232 52nd St. between Second
and Third avenues in Sunset Park, (718)
398–3095 www.targetmargin.org. March
28–April 20; Thu–Sat at 8 pm; Sun at 3 pm.
Official opening April 1 at 8 pm. $25–$35.
Be my Baba tonight: A new adaptation of “Ali
Baba and the Forty Thieves,” opening at the
Target Margin Theater space on April 1, puts
the focus on Baba’s female slave, Marjana,
who actually saves the day. Kelly Stuart
New play changes the focus of the ‘Ali Baba’ story