08 December 2013

White Rabbit Red Rabbit

It's been a while since I have been to the theatre. The last time I watched a play was last winter, when I saw Big Love by Charles L. Mee. This time, I went back to the English Theatre Berlin to watch White Rabbit Red Rabbit, by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour.

See, I cannot help but be intrigued by this play. I read about it, and learned that there are no directors, there are no rehearsals, there is no set, and the actors won't see the script until when they perform it, in front of the audience. I was intrigued enough to the point that I wanted to see it, so I bought a ticket.

There were five shows planned for that time, and I watched the first show, with actor Ariel Nil Levy, an Israeli-German actor. There is a lot of audience participation in this piece; for the most part, it is actually the audience who makes the play move forward. As nobody has seen the play beforehand, plenty of scenes are improvised, including those from the audience.

It seems that I seem to hate plays first, then like them. This one was nothing different. At first, I thought that I spent a worthless 15 EUR to see a play where the playwright just wrote a few lines to make people do things. Yet that actually has more profound meaning hidden beneath it. This play tackles plenty of social psychology issues. If you're in a group, and the group does something wrong, why is it that people are more likely to do the wrong thing, just because they are in a group? If someone tells you that you should kill someone, why is it that most people do it, when there is someone in a position of authority who is telling them to do it? There are plenty of interesting social paradoxes that this play tackles, including Pavlovian effects, and so forth.

Another aspect of this play that I like is this whole time-traveling concept. Soleimanpour has written this in 2010, and yet there are ways in which the past can influence the future, which can then also influence the past. There is a segment in the play where Soleimanpour gives his email address. Sure enough, someone in the audience sends him an email, and the author actually responded, telling the audience member to interrupt the play and say hello!

There are more issues that this play tackles, and the reviews one can find online have a better grip on it, as I am still simmering what I have seen in my head. Overall, however, I am glad that I bought that ticket, because I have to say it is one of the most intriguing and mind-boggling pieces of theatre that I have seen in a while. If this play comes to a city near you, definitely try to score a ticket, it's sure worth it!


  1. I like play where the audience is made a part of it. That's cool!

    1. Zhu,

      Yes, it is very cool. In fact, this is perhaps one of the most enjoyable plays I have attended.