"A Love Letter from Iran"
by Owen Kingston for remotegoat on 15/11/16

Nassim Soleimanpour has made a name for himself with his unique style of writing. Scripts that are delivered to the actor sealed at the start of a performance, and read aloud to the audience by said unsuspecting actor have become his hallmark. Sometimes describing his own plays as "Machines", White Rabbit Red Rabbit was his first such experiment, and is arguably his most powerful.

Part of that power comes from the conditions under which it was written. Without a passport, and unable to leave his native Iran, Nassim wrote a play that could travel for him, and carry his voice to the many countries he found himself unable to visit. Consequently, he produced a script that can be performed anywhere, with a bare minimum of props and no set, that also requires no rehearsal. In fact, the very concept of rehearsal is anathema to White Rabbit Red Rabbit - it can only be performed by an actor who has not experienced the play in any form before, and the script cannot be opened until the audience is seated and the play has begun.

A huge part of the joy White Rabbit Red Rabbit is its unexpected nature, which makes it difficult to write about the show itself directly without spoiling the entire experience. It is also difficult to write anything meaningful about any particular production, since the author leaves very little scope to the production team, actor or producing theatre for invention or innovation of any kind - this play is firmly the possession of the playwright, and every aspect of it is dictated carefully by him: it would not work otherwise.

Nevertheless, no plan no matter how detailed can survive contact with the enemy - the enemy in this case being both the audience and actor combined. Nassim's script is meticulous, but the physical absence of the author (a seat for whom must always be reserved on the front row) ensures that things can never go quite to plan, and every performance of this unique work will take its own unexpected twists and turns. This is a huge part of the joy of a show that trancends national boundaries and culture, and that pinpoints something of the essence that we all share as human beings. It is a life affirming and joyful work that cannot leave an audience unmoved.

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