White Rabbit Red Rabbit
Written by: Nassim Soleimanpour.
Produced by QTP.
Performer for this show: Richa Chadha
White Rabbit Red Rabbit, the play, if you can call it that, starts on a tentative note—the actress is unsure of what she is going to have to perform and the audience is unsure about what they are going to watch. This unusual play also ends in a like manner—the actor is unsure of the end and the audience is unsure of their role in it. What is definite in the 80-something minutes is the voice of the writer and what he is trying to say. From absurd to intense and subtle to solid, the performance rides different waves.
Written by award-winning Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour, the “social-meets-theatre experiment” has been an international hit since it debuted in 2011. It premiered in India last week. The script is handed to the actor only at the start of the performance. There is no rehearsal or research. And there is active audience participation. Without going into details, because that would ruin the experience, one can say that what may appear as simplistic soon assumes depth—sombre, even sinister, but always surprising.
Nassim wrote this script while still in Iran, after he was denied a passport due to his refusal to do mandatory military service. He is now based in Germany. Dealing with ideas of freedom, collective guilt, acquired behaviour, censorship, life and death, the writer never lets you forget his presence. Through a narration of what seem to be his life experiences and a rumination on animal behaviour, Nassim manages to blur the boundaries between fact and fiction, performance and the living of a life, and that between him and us.
Richa Chadha, the performer this day (different actors perform on each day of the show), is the right catalyst; she could have been an ideal medium that Nassim envisioned. However, as every actor performs only once, there is little point in dwelling over his/her performance. At this show, an involved audience reacted and participated. Watching it in an intimate theatre like Prithvi further accentuates the experience. This one messes with you in a right kind of way. So yes, go watch it, laugh, doubt, laugh, cry, laugh, think, laugh and don’t forget to write to Nassim.