Apr. 26 - May 3, 2006 • Vol. 40, No. 30

Island of Animals
In this beautifully realized staging of a tenth-century Islamic fable, a set of castaways, men drawn from the various nations of the world, survives shipwreck on a lush and harmonious island only to decide its riches are their rightful due. Chafing under the yoke of human domination, the animals of the island bring their case for freedom and dignity before the just and wise King of the Jinn, who presides over The Case of Animals versus Man. Golden Thread Productions partners with the Afghan Coalition and Ballet Afsaneh for an inspired theatrical adaptation of a story by Ikhwan al-Safa (the Brethren of Purity), a group of learned men drawn from Ismaili Muslim philosophers in Basra, Iraq. Animated by a spirited and lithesome ensemble cast (including members of Ballet Afsaneh), and a breathtaking storybook design scheme by Kate Boyd (augmented by Mayu McCartt’s excellent costumes), director Hafiz Karmali’s eye-catching production is a family-friendly menagerie with real philosophical meat on it. Its humor, compassion, and insight come forward in a winning mix of western and eastern theatrical styles, underscoring a universal theme--reverence for the sanctity of all life--whose enduring relevance could hardly be more palpable. (Avila)