Ali Baba cover

Ali Baba
Scheherazade introduces her very last Arabian Nights tale . . .

To order scripts ISBN 1-873855-17-6Cast ListScenesExtractNotes

Introduction

A pantomime written in a traditional style, but at the same time refreshingly different, Ali Baba treats your cast to some well made characters and dialogue, and conspires to involve your audience to the maximum.

It also brings you the sub-plot of Scheherazade telling the last of her Arabian Night's tales to avoid execution! Will she succeed or not?

You have a problem casting 40 thieves? Don't worry - we have a solution which means that you only need six. I also suggest that you might suspend disbelief and play some of them using females or juniors, unless of course you happen to have a large number of adult males wanting to be cast.

There are many opportunities for song and dance, including more than 20 suggested titles, and plenty of scope for including an undefined number of senior and junior chorus members in the show.

Principals: Male 6, Female 5, Indeterminate 5

© John Owen Smith 1993


Cast List . . .

Schahriah, the Sultan
Scheherazade, the Sultan's young wife
Executioner
Captain, of the Sultan's guard
Ali Baba, a poor carpenter
Barbara Baba, Ali's wife (dame)
Ben Baba, Ali's son (principal boy)
Cassim Baba, a rich oil merchant, Ali's elder brother
Fatima Baba, Cassim's wife
Rhum Baba, Cassim's daughter
Morgiana, slave-girl to Cassim (principal girl)
Delilah, Ali's donkey
Rashah-al-Gammon, Robber chief
Isim, One of 40 thieves
Getim, Another of 40 thieves
Gotim, Another of 40 thieves
Hadim, Another of 40 thieves
Wasim, Another of 40 thieves
Thirty-four, Another of 40 thieves (but see note)
Chorus of Townspeople, Rock Creatures, etc - senior and junior chorus
Note: 'Thirty-four' is actually Morgiana in disguise, but the audience should not know this in advance. Give 'Thirty-four' a suitable cast name in the Programme.

List of Scenes . . .

Act I

The Prologue - Scheherazade & the Sultan (Front of Tabs)
Scene 1 - A Street in the Town (Full Set)
Scene 2 - In the Robbers' Camp (Front of Tabs)
Scene 3 - Outside the Cave (Half Set)
Scene 4 - Inside the Cave (Full Set)
Scene 5 - Scheherazade & the Sultan (Front of Tabs)
Scene 6 - In Ali's House (Full Set)
Scene 7 - In the Robbers' Camp (Front of Tabs)
Scene 8 - Outside the Cave (Half Set)
Scene 9 - Inside the Cave (Full Set)

**** INTERVAL ****

Act II

The Interlogue - Scheherazade & the Sultan (Front of Tabs)
Scene 1 - In Ali's House (Full Set)
Scene 2 - In the Robbers' Camp (Front of Tabs)
Scene 3 - A Street in the Town (Full Set)
Scene 4 - Scheherazade & the Sultan (Front of Tabs)
Scene 5 - The Sultan's Palace (Full Set)

Extract from Act I Scene 9

Cassim Who are you - where did you come from?
Rashah I am Rashah-al-Gammon, robber baron of the East.
Cassim Are you?
Rashah No, that's what I do - rob a baron of the East. Several barons in fact.
Cassim And give it to the poor?
Rashah (To his men) Did you hear that? Ha-ha! Give it to the poor, he said. (They all laugh uproariously, then stop at a signal from Rashah) (To Cassim) Wrong pantomime, sir - we do Robin Hood next year.
Cassim So this cave . . .
Rashah Is like my bank, where I keep the money people give me.
Cassim And this gold . . .
Rashah Is mine. Gold - mine. (He laughs at this, and his men laugh with him) Gold - mine. But you do not laugh at my little joke - perhaps you thought it was yours now, huh?
Cassim I was thinking of moving it to a safe place.
Rashah Your Bank of Commerce and Credit - I see. You wish to become a bank manager.
(To Isim) What did we do to the last bank manager we met?
Isim Left him with a nasty overdraft, chief.
Rashah Overdraft, yes. He had to be buried with a bank loan. How did you find this place?
Cassim Just by chance - I was walking through the desert, as one does . . .
Rashah Oh indeed - the air's so healthy out here.
Cassim My view precisely - when I came upon this cave in the rock.
Rashah Ten miles from the nearest town. I could believe you - but fortunately I don't have to, because we are going to take you back to our camp and kill you.
Cassim No, no - anything but that!
Rashah Anything?
Cassim Well, almost anything.
Rashah (To his men) What do you suggest, men?
Isim We could sell him to the Sultan as a chief eunuch.
Getim We could make him try using a face-pack.
Gotim We could give him some knitting to do.
Hadim We could make him sing.
Rashah Sing! We want to torture him, not ourselves.
Wasim Then why don't we sing to him?
Rashah An excellent idea - why didn't I think of it? Thirty-four.
Thirty-four Sir?
Rashah Got any bad tunes up your yashmak?
Thirty-four Ten green bottles?
Rashah Not painful enough.
Thirty-four Jerusalem?
Rashah Too tuneful.
Thirty-four How about (whispers to Rashah).
Rashah Yes, that'll do nicely. We'll sing it all the way back to camp - after that he'll be putty in our hands. Ready?
Song - Robbers and Cassim
The robbers march out of the cave, remembering to shut the door, and exit downstage right with Cassim, singing all the way.


Producer's Notes

This pantomime uses four full set scenes, separated by half set or front of curtain scenes to allow for backstage activity. The transformation to the scene inside the cave may be achieved by using a gauze as noted in the script, although for the original production we were fortunate in having the facilities to construct a revolving set.

A list of songs used in the original production is included for your guidance, but feel free to adapt or adopt your own as required.

The concept of the Community Song is where the audience is invited to come up on the stage to help out, and some sort of raucous competition ensues between those brave enough to come up and those left sitting in the auditorium. ("Invited" is perhaps a little inaccurate on occasions, when members of the cast go down in search of friends and other victims!). The positioning of this event just before the final scene also gives people not involved plenty of time to change into their finery for the Walkdown.

I used the general convention that immortals, in this case the Rock Creatures, speak in rhyme and mortals in prose, and I have introduced the concept of a Prologue and an Interlogue (no, the latter is not in the dictionary) as much as anything to give time for the chorus to react to the fact that the show has started, and actually get on stage! This is known as pragmatism.

So good luck with your show. Put in local variations as you wish, and if you think you can improve on the verse then do that too! Have fun - otherwise, why do it?


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