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Sep 16, 2021, 12:15
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Nassim Soleimanpour’s “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” is a truly unusual piece of theater.
To (barely) qualify as an explanation, it’s a one-actor play with a different performer in the role each night during the run in the Alleyway Theatre.
That actor doesn’t see the script until put on stage as the lights come up and Executive Artistic Director Chris J. Handley hands the performer a script in an envelope and it’s off to the races.
There is also some audience participation, something I’m not usually down with but it’s important in the script from the Iranian author, basically under house arrest back home.
The ayatollahs consider him a draft dodger.
That tells you nothing about the actual play and I don’t intend to.
It’s very complicated and tangled and is a test of an actor who hasn’t had any opportunity to rehearse and look for character motivations or do the pre-show calisthenics, vocal and body, so common in theater.
The night I saw the show, Darryl Semira was the person on stage, testing his skills in the unknown and delivering a fine performance.
Handley’s decision to stage the show is in the long tradition of the Alleyway, with former impresario Neal Radice’s long dedication to new and often off-the-wall plays.
“White Rabbit Red Rabbit” fits right into this long history.
The Alleyway has long had a hard core, dedicated audience interested in something different.
That’s why the show is worth seeing, perhaps more than once to see how each different performer handles what comes out of that envelope.
That’s “White Rabbit Red Rabbit,” a chase through the theatrical weeds or under the pine tree in our backyard that our local bunny hangs out in.


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