How does one review a play that must be kept a secret?
Playing it fast and loose with the word “play,” White Rabbit Red Rabbit is more a cold reading unlike you’ve ever seen. There is no introduction as our actor holds a manila envelope containing an unread, unrehearsed script. First debuting at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this theatrical social experiment is the work of Iranian author, Nassim Soleimanpour, an author whose words may be censored in his homeland, but which pour out through the voices of risk-taking actors and adventurous audiences all over the globe, each reading a never-before-seen and never-again-seen experience.
Among the 15 of us in attendance is our risk-taking actor for the evening, Jennifer Jones. She is a twenty-something woman in a muted navy jumper, black trainers, and flowy floral trousers. She has red hair, and speaks with an English accent, her voice light but decisive. This description is more for the author than you, dear reader, as he sits in Iran imaging us just as we imagine him from our seats in the stone-pillar-clad, chapel-turned-venue Assembly Roxy in Edinburgh.
The stage is simply set: two glasses of water, a chair, a ladder, a microphone. The only instructions the actor receives are: do not read the play.
(It is also alleged that the actor receives instructions to also:
-prepare an animal impression
-avoid drinking the glasses of water onstage
Does this tempt you? Confuse you? Good.)
Soleimanpour, by refusing to to take part in mandatory military service, was barred until very recently from leaving Iran, this play acting as his veritable passport to travel the world. He wrote White Rabbit Red Rabbit at age 29 in 2010 as a metaphorical piece of meta-theatre that will twist your brain around the subjects of obedience, social conditioning, voice, and culpability. Frightfully topical, this play begs the question, “Which rabbit will you be?”
Don't google; don't research- come; decide for yourself if you would bite the carrot. This will, of course, not make sense to you, reader, but, in the oath of keeping the contents of White Rabbit Red Rabbit a secret, you must only uncover the metaphor by attending this eyebrow-raising, insanely authentic piece-- just don’t sit in the chair marked -Reserved-. That is for Nassim.
Tickets for White Rabbit Red Rabbit can be purchased at this link:
http://www.assemblyroxy.com/event.php?id=198, as part of the new Formation Festival.
A new actor is chosen to read this secret script at each and every one of its productions worldwide. Produced by Annexe Repertory Theatre in association with Aurora Nova, two more dates remain for this run: February 6th and February 8th, 2018