Review Theatre

White Rabbit Red Rabbit: Interactive and effective

White Rabbit Red Rabbit had wonderful performances and an impressive turnout  

Another theatre house, Break a leg!, sets out to make a mark in the city and what better than Nassim Soleimanpour's White Rabbit Red Rabbit to start it all. A play that lets the writer, despite his absence, be a messenger to drive through its essence and also a format that captures the best of many worlds — actor presence, audience engagement and layered writing. The audience at Apollo Theatre Foundation were in for a surprise when the play gave them an insight into the writer's mind, communicate with him and glimpse situations that inspired him to write it.

The writer's story forms an integral element of this narration. The universality of White Rabbit Red Rabbit (performed in 25 languages across the world) is a stark contrast to his situation of not being allowed to travel beyond Iran.

The impact of White Rabbit Red Rabbit is largely about how an actor reacts to the script (a generous mix of fiction and autobiographical elements), narrates it to the audience, makes them feel a part of it and contributes his bit to the story's autobiographical nature. R K Shenoy's terrific spontaneity and tongue-in-cheek humour helps him handle this space well.

White Rabbit Red Rabbit: Interactive and effective

This verbose play could have become an abstract instructional manual if not handled well, the actor here has to read and tell more than show. There are characters of a rabbit, bear, ostrich that serve as metaphors to depict a circus called life. Two glasses of water and a story about caged rabbits are used to convey the play's larger intentions, a gamut of themes ranging from censorship, suicide, optimism, trust and betrayal. And it's not as message-heavy as it sounds, most of the lines are in a lighter vein but for a preachy ending.

A sequence here requires Shenoy to tell the rabbit's story in a 30-second span, the actor comes up a treat in minimalism and succeeds. Art's larger purpose is to reflect reality, spring up a thought, the play captures the human element in us and the sameness despite barriers. Not in a familiar format yet one that takes us through its intent smartly. An evening well-spent!

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2021 12:11:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/white-rabbit-red-rabbit-interactive-and-effective/article23372771.ece

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