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‘Light Bringer’ Laila Lee asks what story you’d tell to save your life


One of the shows included in Fringe Fort Myers is The Light Bringer, written and performed by Tampa-based creative Laila Lee. It has been well-received at the other fringe festivals where she’s performed the show. Laila proclaims that the secret to the success she’s enjoyed to date with The Light Bringer comes from a lesson she learned from her favorite book, The Thousand and One Nights (a/k/a The Arabian Nights).

“I always tell people if you had to tell one story to save your life, what would you say?”

If you’re not familiar with The Thousand and One Nights, the story revolves around Shahryar, who is a king whose kingdom encompasses present-day India and China. When the king learns that his brother’s wife has been unfaithful, he questions his own wife’s faithfulness. To her chagrin, he discovers that his wife has also been unfaithful and he has her beheaded.

Now Shahryar believes all women are like his wife and former sister-in-law. His solution is to marry a virgin every day and have them executed the next morning before they can be unfaithful.

This goes on for a while until the Vizier cannot find any more virgins for the king to marry and decapitate. The Vizier’s daughter, Scheherazade, offers to be the king’s next bride. Knowing that the women are killed the next day, the Vizier doesn’t like the idea but is talked into it.

So the king and Scheherazade are married. In bed that night, Scheherazade tells the king a story but doesn’t reach the conclusion. The king wants to know the ending so he doesn’t kill her the next day. As night arrives, Scheherazade continues her story and reaches the conclusion but her story drifts into another story. This goes on, as the title states, for a thousand and one nights.

“Stories can be very deep, but the beauty of telling your story is to whip up something as part of your survival,” Laila observes.

“And that’s kind of the structure that I take in The Light Bringer. It’s like a survival tale. Stories of survival.”

Which, undoubtedly, why Laila’s story resonates with her audiences.

Find out for yourself.

Lee will perform her on-stage memoir two more times during Fringe Fort Myers, at:

  • 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 3; and
  • 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 4.

June 2, 2023.


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