While stuck at home in Iran, his unusual play is becoming famous around the world. BARBARA HODGSON talks to Nassim Soleimanpour via Skype
IMAGINE a play with no director or designer and just one character. Imagine that character is played by someone different each night whose script is handed over moments before stepping on stage.
Well, this will be the challenge facing stars including Stephen Tompkinson, Kevin Whately and Sarah Millican when White Rabbit, Red Rabbit comes to Live Theatre in Newcastle.
The one-man show, described by Live’s literary manager Gez Casey as an engaging and powerful allegory, was dreamed up by Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour. Literally.
It has its roots in a nightmare, explains the 30-year-old who monitors the globe-trotting progress of his fast-moving play from home in Iran.
“Six to seven years ago I had this nightmare in which I committed suicide in front of audience members including my parents,” he says.
The idea stayed with him so he decided to turn it into a play which is proving a huge success around the world.
Intrigued audience members are signing up without knowing anything much about it and then, after they’ve seen it, being asked to keep its details secret.
Since its premiere in 2011, with simultaneous performances in Canada and on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, it has been catching people’s attention everywhere.
Unfortunately for Nassim, he hasn’t been present to receive the applause.
He says the reason he didn’t have a passport for some time was because he didn’t do the two years’ military service expected of young men in Iran.
“As soon as you are 18, if you go to university you can postpone the whole process,” he explains.
But if young people then balk at military service, they have to forget about passports.
So has he travelled anywhere?
“Before I was 18, I went to Dubai on my mother’s passport,” he says.