One Performer. No Rehearsals. Infinite Possibilities.

One Performer. No Rehearsals. Infinite Possibilities.

Alex Brightman with a White Rabbit (©Bruce Glikas)


Like “Fight Club,” “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” is something you participate in, but you aren’t supposed to talk about it. I can’t tell you what I saw, but I will tell you that you need to see this show. 

“White Rabbit Red Rabbit” was written by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour back in 2010 when he was 29 years old. At the beginning of “White Rabbit Red Rabbit,” the performer is handed Soleimanpour’s script—and a vial of something—and it is trusted that they have never seen this script before in their lives, nor know what they are about to act out for the audience. The performer must do everything the script tells them—read specific lines, do specific actions, make specific choices—but has the opportunity to make asides to the audience, so long as the audience is made aware that the additional dialogue is the actor’s own and not Soleimanpour’s words. This means that though the script is the same at every performance, the show is completely different because no two actors will ever perform it the exact same way.

I had the privilege of attending the November 14 show where one of my favorite performers, Tony-nominated Alex Brightman (“School of Rock the Musical”), dazzled the audience with his charm, commitment and honesty. Though he was the outlet for the playwright’s prose, Brightman’s interjections were memorable and touching, putting a more personal spin on what was happening. As a writer, it was fascinating to watch an actor who is also a writer interpret the playwright’s script. Words are powerful. When written on a page, they may seem flat or harmless, but when said aloud, or put into motion, words cause actions and actions have consequences.

“White Rabbit Red Rabbit” made me laugh as much as it made me sit in quiet reflection. The playwright was not there, but his presence was felt throughout the performance, and though this play was written six years ago in Iran, it is timely as ever in 2016 NYC. His words united everyone in that audience and, for one evening, all 150 of us were witnessing something that no one else ever would. That will stay with me for years to come, as will the choices that Brightman made.

The great thing about “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” is that it’s a great show for people who love theater, as well as for people who appreciate a less traditional theatrical production. There is a stage, yes. And minimal props. A script is performed from start to finish. But there is a beautiful blur between performance and reality that makes this show stand on its own among other shows on or off Broadway.

Are you a white rabbit or a red rabbit? Maybe you're not a rabbit at all. Maybe you're a cheetah, pretending to be an ostrich...

There's really only one way to find out.

“White Rabbit Red Rabbit” is performed at 8 pm on Monday nights at the Westside Theatre Downstairs (407 W. 43rd St., btw Ninth & 10th aves.). Tickets can be purchased here or by calling 212.239.6200.

Upcoming performers include:

11/21 Nancy Travis

11/28 Brian Stokes Mitchel

12/5 Micah Stock

12/12 James Roday

(Courtesy "White Rabbit Red Rabbit")

 

Comments

I am a Crack Rabbit! I had the pleasure of experiencing this masterfully crafted script for fourteen consecutive Monday's. Every week was a NEW experience! I have never reread a book, watched a movie again this many times and been as excited and THRILLED as WR3.
If I hadn't moved out of state I think I would still be there every Monday!

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