Hassan Blasim’s “The Nightmares of Carlos Fuentes,” like a number of Blasim’s short stories, has strong dramatic elements. Previously turned into an audio story for Spoken Ink, “The Nightmares,” trans. Jonathan Wright, has now inspired a play by Rashid Razaq:
Razaq’s new play, also titled The Nightmares of Carlos Fuentes, will be directed by Nicolas Kent and staged at the Arcola Theatre this July and August.
Salim, a city employee in Baghdad, flees the city and picks a new identity with the “help” of a smirking Parisian cousin. In the theatrical version, his new life begins not in the Netherlands, but in England, where he “marries a wealthy older woman, who enthusiastically coaches him in the bedroom for his forthcoming citizenship test. But Carlos Fuentes finds that knowing the names of all six of Henry VIII’s wives can neither satisfy his new wife nor turn him into a ‘Britishman.’ The nightmare of the violence of his past catches up with him, and suddenly he is at the airport, accompanied by a G4 security guard, waiting for a plane to take him back to Baghdad.”
This sounds significantly different from the short story, although we’ll take Ahmed Mourad’s advice and not compare the two, but let each stand on its own.
The cast includes Nabil Elouahabi, and the show’s world premiere runs at the Arcola Theatre from July 23 through August 16, with a press night on July 29. Further casting will be announced shortly.
More on the show: