white rabbit red rabbit

Cleveland Public Theatre
Professional Theatre
“It began with a nightmare ……….years ago that I killed myself on stage in front of an audience that included my parents,” said Playwright Nassim Soleimanpour, who grew up in Shiraz and now lives in Tehran.
Soleimanpour was not allowed to leave Iran.  To get a passport, you need to serve two years in the military. He was a conscientious objector, so travel was not going to happen. Censorship was deafening. So after having his nightmare, he developed a play that could carry his thoughts, expressions, humor, and storytelling. It resulted in White Rabbit Red Rabbit. An incredibly unique theatre experience that was brought to CPT by  Executive Artistic Director Raymond Bobgan. And what a find it is. Bravo.
On the night I attended, the actor for that evening was Councilman Joe Cimperman. You see, one of the interesting things about this play is that a different actor performs each showing. This convention is further enhanced with the actor not having the script until he or she opens an envelope on stage – in front of the audience. All we see on stage is a ladder, a table with two glasses of water, and the stand where the envelope holding the script lives. So ALL of us begin this journey together. The audience and the actor have no idea what is about to happen, and the result is a glorious evening of what the sam hill is going on, and tingling realism.
The actor reveal is delightful as well. After Bobgan greets us and fires the crowd up to vote for Issue 8, which we all need to do, a red curtain opens to reveal the actor.
We are then taken on a journey, where we can hear the playwright as if he were there. The theatre actually keeps a seat available for “him”.  At the beginning, it is quite funny, and the interactive situations that ensue are fascinating. But after a while, the play delves into darker territory. We move inside the playwright’s mind as he handles the inevitable rougher times in life, especially when you think of being repressed artistically and physically. Through sharing a family story that might seem cute to some degree, engineers itself into a powerful message of thought and candor. I can’t really give more details, because the play needs to be silent in print and only live on stage and in our minds when we leave.
But we do learn that when the play was able to travel without him, it was a taste of freedom. And the fact that Soleimanpour provides his email address to hear from all who see the play, must have been, and be, an incredible comfort to know your words are touching lives, and inhabiting theatres around the world.
It is a fascinating night. So you need to check out the following performers and pick a day when you can experience a very, unique evening. (Because you never know who will show up in the audience. Beware of pre-printed material being passed out. It is not part of the show.)
Friday, October 16th: RA Washington
Saturday, October 17th: Bill Rudman
Sunday, October 18th: Dana Hart*
Monday, October 19th: Derdriu Ring*
Wednesday, October 21st: Mike Polk
Thursday, October 22nd: Margaret Ford-Taylor
Friday, October 23rd: Dr. Michael Mauldin*
Saturday, October 24th: David Hansen
Sunday, October 25th: Anne McEvoy
October 8 – October 25
7pm Mondays
7pm Wednesdays
7pm Thursdays
7pm Fridays
7pm Saturdays
7pm Sundays

$20-25; repeat performances just $10

(216) 631-2727 extension 501
Order Tickets Online

Cleveland Public Theatre (Parish Hall)
6415 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44102