Nassim: Explore Themes of Language, Race and Gender through Total Improvisation

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Imagine entering a theatre and the only set items on stage are a microphone and a sealed envelope with the actor’s name on it. You come to find out that you might know more about the program than the actor does. Only one actor will be performing. He or she has never performed this show and has had no rehearsals. Inside the sealed envelope they find the full script to the show you are about to watch. The script is written completely in Farsi. Nassim is a self-titled work written by Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour introducing attendees to a new style of theatre where walls come down between the actor and the audience. 

A follow up to the one man show White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, Soleimanpour’s newest production Nassim explores the art of live improvisation while simultaneously introducing themes of language, race and gender. The show is unique in that it has a different actor each night. The actor enters the stage knowing nothing about the plot or what they will be doing during the show. They open an envelope addressed to them. Inside the envelope is a new long script that has not been performed previously and will be performed spontaneously. Nassim joins the actor on stage to supplement and perform with the actor.

Although there is a different plot each night, the main theme of the show revolves around the phenomenon of being unable to speak a language in a situation where you are required to. The audience is given the opportunity to see an experienced actor in a vulnerable position of having to spontaneously perform. The audience knows just as much as the actor does. Soleimanpour desires to bring a diversity to his show by creating a unique experience each night. He tries to involve actors that are both male and female, from different races and cultures, and that speak different languages. Each person is able to relate to a portion of the story by the diversity of the cast. The show has been performed in several different countries and in different languages. It is recommended to see the show more than once because it can be a different experience with each actor.

When interviewed, Soleimanpour said that he based a lot of the scripts on stories from his childhood. He was inspired to create a show like this and perform it all around the world after not having a passport. Soleimanpour is given the challenge of creating a new script for each night. 

There are 7 opportunities to see Nassim in Lafayette, Indiana. From November 19-23, Nassim will be performing at the Civic Theatre at Greater Lafayette. The show will feature a different local cast member each night. Tickets are $20-$25.

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