Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp
Let Wishy Washy welcome you to Widow Twanky's steam-filled laundry. "Best laundry in all China". Even the Emperor goes there. Which is how his best friend
Aladdin falls in love with the Emperor's daughter who then gets kidnapped by an Evil Wizard. "What to do! What to do!" How can a poor boy like Aladdin hope to
defeat the evil wizard, save the princess, become rich and live happily ever after ? Well he can with the help of the two Genies who live in the magic lamp he finds?
This spectacular BITESIZE production, combines modern storytelling and musical theatre to create a magical experience for young and old alike. Bright, lively
and colourful and suitable for all ages, with over 15 characters; played by a cast of 5; full set, costumes, lights and sound; it has everything you need to make the
season go with a bang and a pop. Fun and enjoyment for everyone guaranteed.
The play opens with Wishy Washy welcoming you into Widow Twanky's steam-filled laundry. "The best laundry in all China". Everybody comes to Widow Twanky's laundry; stars of stage and screen; even the Emperor comes to Window Twanky's to have his smalls washed. And therein lies the first of the problems. The Emperor has sent his daughter, the Princess Soshy, to complain. His laundry has been returned full of holes. Any suggestion that this could not have been Widow Twanky's fault, can only lead to the severest punishment, so Widow Twanky offers to do the next Royal load for free. The Princess accepts the offer, but leaves with a dire warning should there ever be any recurrence .......!!! Just as she is leaving she passes Widow Twanky's son, Aladdin. Aladdin is in love with Princess Soshy and he stands, dumbstruck at having her standing so near to him. Twanky and Wishy Washy try their best to convince Aladdin that he should forget all about her, he's just a poor boy, how can he hope to marry a Princess.
Meanwhile, Abenazer, the meanest, greatest and baddest magician in all Africa, has come to China, with his two gargoyle servants, Hinge and Bracket. He has a cunning plan to obtain a Magic Lamp that he has discovered hidden in a deep cave in the middle of the desert. But the entrance to the cave is too small and so he wants Aladdin to enter the cave and get the lamp for him. In order to gain Aladdin's trust and that of Widow Twanky, he poses as Aladdin's long-lost Uncle offering Aladdin a bag of gold if he helps him. Aladdin jumps at the chance.
Once inside the cave, Aladdin discovers riches beyond his wildest dreams, and wants to bring them out, but Abenazer is only interested in the Lamp, and in a fit of pique, magically shuts Aladdin inside the cave. The cave is very dark and Aladdin is frightened, his only hope is the lamp, so he tries to light it but nothing happens. He thinks this is probably because the lamp is dirty and so he rubs the lamp to remove the grime. Suddenly out of nowhere a Genie appears ( no! not the giant blue one from the Disney film) a Welsh miner from the Valleys called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgolgeryllchwryndrobwchchllantysilliogogogoch, but people call him Gwyn for short. The Genie has Aladdin, and all of the riches he found, out of the cave in a jiffy and on his way home to Widow Twanky.
Abenazer has found out that Aladdin has escaped with the Magic Lamp, and is searching for him. But the local Constabulary have heard that Abenazer is in town and they are after him. Now that he is no longer poor, Aladdin sees that he has an opportunity to ask Princess Soshy to marry him. As with all good Fairy Tales, Aladdin gets his Mum to ask her Dad, the Emperor, for him. The Princess is delighted. The Emperor, only wants the best for his only daughter, but the Emperor's Vizier, wants his son to marry the Princess, and so suggests that Aladdin should contribute 30 caskets of gold to the Royal Coffers for the privilege of wooing the Princess. Thankfully, Aladdin has the Genie on hand to make this happen. "You know, it's been a while since I had such a good opportunity to do a really big production. We are talking spectacular, Al". The Genie not only provides Aladdin with the caskets of gold, he also magics up a palace. "A modest little place, just the right size for you and the Princess. Cozy-like. Eh! Just like the Beckham's." and of course a Flying Carpet.
Soon the day of Aladdin's wedding to Princess Soshy arrives, and all goes well until Abenazer arrives. He disguises himself as a lamp seller, swapping old lamps for new ones. Widow Twanky, unaware of the lamp's magic, swaps Aladdin's lamp for a new one, giving Abenazer the Magic lamp and the Genie. And his first command to the Genie is to kidnap the Princess, and transport them both to his home in Africa, and the Genie has no choice but to obey. However, Aladdin has the magic flying carpet, and speeds after Abenazer. A reluctant Wishy Washy goes too. "Wishy Washy no like flying. Always end up with feet in one place, shoes in another... and stomach having out of body experience."
When they arrive in Abenazer's palace, they free Princess Soshy, steal back the Magic Lamp and get the Genie to send Abenazer to jail. All in a day's work, for your average hero.
Aladdin is one of the tales with a Syrian origin in the collection 1001 Nights and one of the most famous in Western culture, and although it is listed as an Arabic tale, the characters in the story are neither Arabs nor Persians, but rather are from China and Africa. The story concerns an impoverished young man named Aladdin living in China, who is recruited by a sorcerer to retrieve a wonderful oil lamp from a booby trapped magic cave. After the sorcerer attempts to double-cross him, Aladdin keeps the lamp for himself, and discovers that it summons a surly djinn that is bound to do the bidding of the person holding the lamp. With the aid of the djinn, Aladdin becomes rich and powerful and marries princess Badroulbadour. The sorcerer returns and is able to get his hands on the lamp by tricking Aladdin's wife, who is unaware of the lamp's importance. Aladdin discovers a lesser, polite djinn is summoned by a ring loaned to him by the sorcerer but forgotten during the double-cross. Assisted by the lesser djinn, Aladdin recovers his wife and the lamp. The theme of the wily trickster of lowly birth who outfoxes the trickster himself is a widespread motif in fables.
The story of Aladdin is a classic example of one of the seven basic plots in story-telling i.e. an example of the "rags-to-riches" story. This type of story presents in three parts: from lowly beginnings, a protagonist achieves an initial success in life, traverses a major crisis in which all seems lost, and finally triumphs over adversity to achieve more stable and enduring success. This final success is only possible because the hero has learned a degree of inner maturity by going through the crisis. Aladdin's first success came too easily and was not based on his own efforts, but the genie's who helped him; his despair at losing the princess and the palace to the evil sorcerer takes him to a spiritual place at which he needs to arrive before he can develop true strength and wholeness by making his own efforts to succeed. The wholeness he finally achieves is symbolised by the re-establishment of the relationship with the princess. One of the reasons for the enduring interest of the Aladdin story lies in our often unconscious recognition of the importance of its underlying meaning. We recognize our own struggles to grow and develop in Aladdin's journey.
No medieval Arabic source has been traced for the tale, which was incorporated into The Book of One Thousand and One Nights by its French translator, Antoine Galland, who heard it from a Syrian Christian storyteller from Aleppo. Galland's diary (March 25, 1709) records that he met the Maronite scholar, by name Youhenna Diab ("Hanna"), who had been brought from Aleppo to Paris by Paul Lucas, a celebrated French traveller. Galland's diary also tells that his translation of "Aladdin" was made in the winter of 1709 and included in his volumes 9 and 10 of the Arabian Nights, published in 1710.
John Payne, Alaeddin and the Enchanted Lamp and Other Stories, (London 1901) gives details of Galland's encounter with the man he referred to as "Hanna" and the discovery in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris of two Arabic manuscripts containing Aladdin (with two more of the "interpolated" tales). One is a jumbled late 18th century Syrian version. The more interesting one, in a manuscript that belonged to the scholar M. Caussin de Perceval, is a copy of a manuscript made in Baghdad in 1703. It was purchased by the Bibliothèèque Nationale at the end of the 19th century.
In the United Kingdom, the story of Aladdin is a popular subject for pantomimes. The traditional Aladdin pantomime (which is set in China, unlike many adaptations of the story) is the source of the well-known pantomime character Widow Twankey.
The set reflects the Chinese location of the play with a bright red backdrop with gold border details and a gold Dragon motif, and Chrysanthemum blossoms. The contrasting black and gold lattice panels and the black oriental gateway, make it a very striking and lively set. There are also two blocks which transform from the washing machines, in Widow Twankey's laundry, into the Emperor's throne, and a cave full of gold and jewels.
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