Seasoned storytellers take to the MAC Friday

Professional storytellers read from a selection of stories from 1001 Arabian Nights on May 22 in Parksville

If you are a fan of 1001 Arabian Night’s, Shaharazade’s tales will be told at the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

Tales for the Telling, Stories for Adults will bring together three seasoned professional storytellers to tell a selection of stories from 1001 Arabian Nights, May 22.

Tara Hartley who has been a performing storyteller for over 25 years brings her love of the old epic tales to the MAC stage and will be joined by Rachel Dunstan Muller and Marva Blackmore.

Blackmore who is the organizer of Tales for the Telling and president of the Storytellers of Canada said they can’t tell all 1001 stories, but they can tell some of their favourites.

In 1001 Arabian Nights the Sultan Shahryar plans to kill his wife.  However, his new bride, Shaharazad, has a clever plan to save herself.

On the night of their marriage, Shaharazad begins to tell the king a tale, but does not end it.

Curious about how the story ends the king postpones her execution in order to hear the conclusion.

The next night, as soon as she finishes the tale, she begins a new one, and the king, eager to hear the conclusion, postpones her execution once again. So it goes on for 1,001 nights.

Blackmore first told an Arabian Nights tale with Hartley at Rasputin’s Café in Ottawa at the Stories from the Ages series.

She said she is delighted to perform the show again and to have Muller join her and Hartley on the Tales for the Telling stage.

The trio worked together and performed in the epic telling of the Odyssey which took place in Nanaimo last month.

Blackmore said they don’t have enough time to tell 1001 stories so they will be telling the frame, the story that goes around Arabian Nights and how it comes to be.

“The Sultan is going to execute Shaharazad so she uses her story telling to save herself and we are going to be telling three of those stories.  The stories are long but we have edited them down.  We will go all the way to the 1001st night and tell the last story on the last night and how she eventually survives,” Blackmore explained.

Blackmore admitted she hasn’t read all of the 1001 stories but she knows someone who has.

“My neighbour has the original translation done by Sir Richard Burton and it spans 15 volumes and she has read them all.  I have a three volume condensed version.”

This is the final event of this season’s Tales for the Telling series.  The series will recommence on October 30, with a night of chilling ghost stories.

Storytelling evenings at the MAC have proved to be very popular and people are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance.

The MAC is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Tickets are $12 ($10 OCAC members) and remaining tickets will be available at the door.

If you cannot get to the MAC to purchase your tickets in advance, you may purchase them on-line at Eventbrite.com, by selecting the Parksville location and searching by date. For more information phone: 250-248-8185 or email: info@mcmillanartscentre.com.

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