Layla and Majnun

Sunday, September 25, 2:30 pm

Walker Talks!

Mad love: The Story of Layla and Majnun

Walker Brents III tells the tale of Layla and Majnun — a 7th century Arabic story, best remembered from the rendering by 12th century Persian poet Nizami. Cherished by Persians, Arabs, Afghans, Turks, Azerbaijanis, Uzbeks, Indians and Pakistanis, the story of Layla and Majnun has been told in thousands of variations across cultures and art forms; Eric Clapton, too, plays the part of Majnun in his pleading classic, Layla, written in anguish for the unattainable love of Patti Boyd…

Layla and Majnun is the story of Qays ibn al-Mulawwah, a young poet in the seventh century who fell in love with a woman named Layla and wrote poems expressing his desperate passion for her. Layla’s father, however, refused to let them marry and gave her hand to another man, whereupon Qays retreated to the wilderness, where he went mad and wasted away. He is remembered through time as Majnun, after an Arabic word meaning crazy.

On Sunday afternoon, Walker, deranged poet that he is, will race to Bird & Beckett from his early gig at the ballpark where he is scheduled to relate another Nizami tale, the story that Puccini adapted into his opera Turandot, to the assembled throng of opera fans there… Once safely on the Bird & Beckett stage, he will grace us with his rendering of this timeless, tragic and beautiful story, exploring the intricacies of Nizami’s rendering some 900 years ago — which has held sway in the popular imaginations of millions all these many centuries.