Recently composer Shanon D. Whitelock got in touch with me after a silence of a couple of years to say he felt ready to complete our musical The Last Tale. Great news!
This musical is a monster project and Shan and I have been round the block a time or two deciding which direction to take with this “tale as old as time”. The last thing either one of wants is to replicate any of the splendid iterations of Alf Layla Wa-Layla/A Thousand and One Tales aka The Arabian Nights. We want it to be fresh and modern whilst retaining the grandeur and magic of ancient Baghdad. Fortunately, there is so much material to choose from in the wealth of literature abounding and the musical instruments with exotic Middle Eastern tones and flavour are like a treasure trove.
It’s not surprising that about three-quarters of the way into the project we both lost the threads that would lead us safely through the labyrinth but here we are back again and seasoned with successes individually both here in Australia and in London. We can approach with energy and enthusiasm the challenge of synthesising the first and second acts without losing momentum.
In a nutshell Scheherazade, the famous storyteller of the Nights’ Tales, has been on a sabbatical for a decade and enjoyed a well-earned rest from the tyrannous demands of her psychotic and insatiable husband, King Shariah, but now the old demons are stirring and he wants a new tale. Brand new. The lady is exhausted and indifferent, not to mention coddled by the adulation of her people and the legions of fans who pour into Baghdad once a year to hear her tell one of her stellar tales and also to catch a glimpse of her because let’s be honest, she’s quite a looker. Shariah not so much. He’s jaded and fat and riddled with gout and of course, murderous as ever. Spoiler alert. You’ll have to wait for the opening to find out what happens next but suffice it to say this show is going to be magnificent.
Exciting times ahead.