The Arabian Nights: A Play
Mary Zimmerman Northwestern University Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3576.I66A73 2004 | Dewey Decimal 812.54
A twelve-member cast enacts Scheherazade's tales of love, lust, comedy, and dreams. Scheherazade's cliffhanger stories prevent her husband, the cruel ruler Shahryar, from murdering her, and after 1,001 nights, Shahryar is cured of his madness, and Scheherazade returns to her family. This adaptation offers a wonderful blend of the lesser-known tales from Arabian Nights with the recurring theme of how the magic of storytelling holds the power to change people. The final scene brings the audience back to a modern day Baghdad with the wail of air raid sirens threatening the rich culture and history that are embodied by these tales.
As in her Tony Award–winning Metamorphoses, Mary Zimmerman transforms Greek mythology—here the story of Jason and the Argonauts—into a mesmerizing piece of theater. Encountering an array of daunting challenges in their “first voyage of the world,” Jason and his crew illustrate the essence of all such journeys to follow—their unpredictability, their inspiring and overwhelming breadth of emotion, their lessons in the inevitability of failure and loss. Bursts of humor and fantastical creatures enrich a story whose characters reveal remarkable complexity. Medea is profoundly sympathetic even as the seeds are sown for the monstrous life ahead of her, and the brute strength of Hercules leaves him no less vulnerable to the vicissitudes of love. Zimmerman brings to Argonautika her trademark ability to encompass the full range of human experience in a work as entertaining as it is enlightening.
Journey to the West: A Play
Mary Zimmerman Northwestern University Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS3576.I66J68 2011 | Dewey Decimal 812.6
This adaptation of a late sixteenth-century classic Chinese comic novel, Journey to the West, based on Anthony C. Yu’s translation, takes as its point of departure the true story of a seventh-century monk and his fabled pilgrimage from China to India in search of sacred texts. Mixing whimsy with spiritual weight, Zimmerman’s script combines comedy, adventure, and satire in a moving allegory of human perseverance.
Metamorphoses: A Play
Mary Zimmerman Northwestern University Press, 2002 Library of Congress PS3576.I66M47 2002 | Dewey Decimal 812.54
Called by Time the "theater event of the year," Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses brings Ovid's tales to stunning visual life. Set in and around a large pool of water onstage, Metamorphoses juxtaposes the ancient and the contemporary in both language and image to reflect the variety and persistence of narrative in the face of inevitable change. Nominated for three 2002 Tony Awards, including "Best Play," Metamorphoses earned Zimmerman a Tony for "Best Direction of a Play."
The Odyssey: A Play
Mary Zimmerman Northwestern University Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3576.I66O39 2006 | Dewey Decimal 812.54
This dramatic adaptation of Homer's myth begins with a modern young woman who is struggling to understand Robert Fitzgerald's translation of The Odyssey. A classical muse appears, and the young woman becomes the goddess Athena--a tireless advocate for Odysseus in his struggle to get home. With her trademark irreverent and witty twist on classic works, Zimmerman brings to life the story of Odysseus's ten-year journey, depicting his encounters with characters such as Circe, the Cyclops, Poseidon, Calypso, the Sirens, and others.
Mary Zimmerman’s The Secret in the Wings adapts a group of lesser-known fairy tales to create a theatrical work that sets their dark mystery against her signature wit and humor. The framing story concerns a child and the frightening babysitter with whom her parents leave her. As the babysitter reads from a book, the characters in each of the tales materialize, with each tale breaking off just at its bleakest moment before giving way to the next one.
The central tale is told without interruption, after which each previous tale is successively resumed, with each looming disaster averted. As in Zimmerman’s other productions, here she uses costumes, props, sets, and lighting to brilliant effect, creating images and feelings that render the fairy tales in all their elemental and enduring power.
Treasure Island: A Play
Mary Zimmerman Northwestern University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3576.I66T74 2019 | Dewey Decimal 812.54
“Zimmerman has powerfully captured the joy, danger, and fantasy of Stevenson’s novel. . . Pure fun, a potent coming-of-age story, and a rollicking swashbuckler.”—San Francisco Chronicle
In Treasure Island, Tony Award winner and inventive adapter-director Mary Zimmerman has penned a spirited, energetic adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s most beloved novel, proving again that “a strong story full of larger-than-life characters and the quest for filthy lucre has no age barrier” (Chicago Sun-Times).
Enlivened by rum, mutiny, and buried treasure, Treasure Island is the classic pirates’ tale, widely regarded as the forerunner of this genre. After discovering a treasure map, young Jim Hawkins sets off to sea as cabin boy aboard the Hispaniola, where he encounters one of the most unforgettable characters in literary history—peg-legged buccaneer Long John Silver, a malicious mutineer and charismatic father figure.
The White Snake: A Play
Mary Zimmerman Northwestern University Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS3576.I66W48 2013 | Dewey Decimal 812.54
In her latest theatrical production inspired by a classic story, Mary Zimmerman reimagines The White Snake, an ancient Chinese legend in which a snake spirit transforms herself into a beautiful woman in order to experience the human world. Adventuring down her mountainside with her companion, Green Snake, White Snake meets and falls in love with the humble, virtuous Xu Xian and convinces him to marry her. Together, the three friends open a pharmacy, but soon the remarkable healing powers of White Snake draw the attention of a treacherous monk, Fa Hai. Outraged at the union between a mortal and a snake spirit, Fa Hai takes it upon himself to destroy it. Zimmerman brings to this timeless romance her usual brilliant mix of ingenious stagecraft, song, abundant humor, and compassion.