‘Mirror of the Invisible World’ to open next week

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By Meredith Whye, Contributor

This November, the UNO Theatre Department will present Mary Zimmerman’s play “Mirror of the Invisible World.” The play, an adaption from the poem “Haft Paykar” by Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi, is only the second time a university has put on the play. It is also the first “Mirror of the Invisible World” production in the area.
The play is the story of King Bahram, who has seven new wives and builds them each  different colored pavilions. Each night, the king visits one of his wives and she tells him a story. The wives’ stories intertwine with common themes such as love, loss and betrayal.
“The play is broken up into seven different stories,” said Sarah Fogarty, who plays a Persian Princess. “And each story is exciting and unique and has a completely different atmosphere.”
An ensemble piece, “Mirror of the Invisible World” features eight actors and actresses. There is a young king trying to find his way in life, and seven princesses of different ethnicities from Russian to Chinese. Each actor plays one major role, but also must act in as variety of different characters such as old ladies, hermits, merchants, demons and animals, co-director Thais Flaitt Giannoccaro said.
“My favorite part is seeing how each actor transforms into different characters throughout the scenes,” Fogarty said.  “It is very exciting to be a part of and I am sure it will be fun to watch!”
“Mirror of the Invisible World” is directed by Dr. Cindy Melby Phaneuf. Its original choreography by former UNO student Wai Yim, and creative costumes by Sharon Sobel, make this production a very unique experience. Each of the princesses plays a role in the other’s stories, so therefore their costuming must change to reflect that.
Ganjavi’s poem. “Haft Paykar,” which means the Seven Beauties, is one of the most important poetical creations of the whole oriental Indo-European literature, according to Encyclopaedia Iranica.
“Every theatre production is unique in its own way,” Giannoccaro said. “And ‘Mirror of the Invisible World’ is a proof of how an ancient story is still current after more than 1500 years.”
Playwright Mary Zimmerman is a Nebraska native who decided to revive this story because of her own interest in the story and rising tensions in the Middle East. This performance is intended for mature audiences.
“It’s a compelling piece of storytelling with lots of surprises and lessons that hopefully will touch the audience’s hearts.” Flaitt Giannoccaro said. “[‘Mirror of the  Invisible World’ will] take us to a journey that goes from darkness to enlightenment, and for sure embrace and resonate on issues that are part of our contemporary society.”
Previews will run Nov. 14  and 15 with performances Nov. 16-17, 28-30 and Dec. 1 in the Weber Fine Arts Building. The theatre will open at 7:00 p.m. with a 7:30 p.m. start for all performances.
For tickets, visit unomaha.edu/unotheatre or call the box office at 402-554-PLAY. Tickets went on sale yesterday and are free for all UNO students with a valid UNO ID, and $5 for all other students who present a valid school ID. Adults are $15, Faculty/Staff/Senior/and Military tickets are $10.

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