One dark stage. One actor. One box with their name on it. No idea of what’s going to happen next. So begins Nassim, a new play by Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour.
An actor, different for each performance and who hasn’t read the script, takes up the challenge, only to be as surprised as the audience by the occurrences onstage. What begins as a disorienting atmosphere – anything could happen – is skillfully forged into a warm bond between the performer and the audience, with gentle humour creating links of sympathy and support.
Soleimanpour’s first play White Rabbit Red Rabbit was performed worldwide in fifteen languages, by actors as diverse as Juliet Stevenson and Sarah Millican. In a similar vein, the actors were told not to see the play or to prepare anything before the performance (other than an ostrich impression).
That experience, of seeing his words translated and their meanings changing, seems to have inspired Soleimanpour in this new work. Themes of childhood, love and family are explored in English and Farsi, his native tongue. The play feels honest and intimate; appropriate given that it’s named after its author.
Nassim is likely to be very different to anything else you’ll see on the Fringe, continuing Soleimanpour’s fascination with disrupting the traditional theatre model. However, you’ll find yourself in safe hands, on a multimedia journey through language, filled with genuine emotion.
Words: Caroline Whitham
Picture: David Monteith Hodge
Nassim, The Traverse, 4-27 Aug (not 7,14, 21), times vary