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A CurtainUp Review
Mirror of the Invisible World
A labor of love and for love, Mirror of the Invisible World (Nizami's literary title is also the play's name) takes place in Daniel Ostling's palatial pavilion diaphanously lit by John Culbert. Each tale is color-coordinated to the princess who spins it, its theme intertwined with its hue. The black tale, for instance, warns against lovers rushing their infatuation into artificial expectations and getting so lost in each other till they lose any sense of their selves. The green one exposes the naivete of trying to think love through. The Russian princess' red tale is the famous one of icy Turandot and her tests of love, the purple one a Kurdish legend of a traveler rescued by a girl and avenged by a princely protector. The yellow story extols the virtues of patience over passion. Set in a secret garden, the comical white one equates the hazard lovers risk (here falling props) with the doubts that imperil future happiness, and cautions against complacency.
As before Faran Tahair plays Bahram with all the impetuous astonishment that Yul Brynner brought to his patriarchal potentate. Depicting more than the storytellers, the seven lovely actresses/princesses throw themselves into a host of fantastic personages, imaginatively exaggerated, cunningly caricatured and gorgeous costumed by Mara Blumenfeld.
Unfortunately, these depiction mark the greatest change from the 1997 original. In her zeal to sell these stories to all buyers, Zimmerman has broadened them, injecting shades of slapstick and bits of burlesque, as if to prevent us from having to meet these exotic stories half way. Much of the delicacy of what we see is undermined by the crudeness of what we hear. When the lover in the "white story" reminds us more of Lucille Ball at her most hysterical, something suggests that this is not the time trip we were meant to take. Nizami is not Boccaccio.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide