Hit Iranian play with fiendish central premise opens in Christchurch

Shay Horay is one of eight Christchurch performers who will take on the challenge of this refreshing play.

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Shay Horay is one of eight Christchurch performers who will take on the challenge of this refreshing play.

White Rabbit, Red Rabbit is a play where the actor has no idea what is going to happen when the show begins.

The play, which opens at the Little Andromeda theater in Christchurch on Wednesday, has a funny, surprising and fiendish central premise.

Every night, the script is handed in a sealed envelope to a different actor. They open the envelope at the start of the show on stage with no idea what they will be asked to perform.

Over a week of shows, eight Christchurch performers will be put through their peace when they open the envelope. Emma Cusdin, Tom Eason, Ella Wallace, Isayah Snow, Juanita Hepi, Hester Ullyart, Shay Horay, Josiah Morgan will each take on the show.

Producer Matt Lang said the play was a way for the playwright to symbolically travel the world.

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Producer Matt Lang said the play was a way for the playwright to symbolically travel the world.

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Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour created the play in 2010 in response to not being allowed to leave Iran because he refused to complete the mandatory two-year national service.

Producer Matt Lang said the show became a way for the playwright to symbolically leave his home country.

“He wrote it as an experiment for the play to travel the world in his place.

“The script is symbolic of him being there in these different countries when it is performed.”

Performer Isayah Snow will take on the show on Friday night.

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Performer Isayah Snow will take on the show on Friday night.

Lang said the high wire nature of the show had made his eight performers nervous. The performers are not allowed to speak to each other during the season so they reach the stage with no early warning of what to expect.

“We reached out to people that we thought would be good to pick up the script and cold read and do a good job.

“There has been a bit of discussion with the actors, who are nervous and don’t know what to expect.”

Juanita Hepi is one of eight Christchurch performers taking on the unusual play.

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Juanita Hepi is one of eight Christchurch performers taking on the unusual play.

Christchurch performer Shay Horay said he was “productively discombobulated” by the concept of the play.

“I had a dream that I opened the envelope and it was just one sentence.

“Every day I wonder: Did I think this through? Am I going to be good enough? And then the next morning the cycle starts again.

“I just have no idea what is in the thing.”

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