The Alleyway Theater has announced the casting of their first play of their 42nd season. It turns out that twelve Buffalo actors will take the stage, one at a time, in Nassim Soleimanpour’s WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT, over four consecutive evenings Thursday-Friday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. starting at Anthony Chase of Theater Talk on September 9.
How do you ask? WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT is a play for one, where a different actor every night is presented with a sealed script in an envelope on stage in front of the audience. While the actor will have received a short vocabulary list to learn pronunciations, once on stage, the actor opens the envelope and performs a play he has never seen before.
According to the Alleyway, the play is a worldwide hit, having been performed thousands of times in more than 20 languages since its premiere in 2010. Never seen in Buffalo, the play will be performed by, in the words of the Alleyway: ” twelve of Buffalo’s bravest actors. “
Todd Benzin, Melinda Capeles, Anthony Chase, Charmagne Chi, Don Gervasi, Peter Horn, Victoria Pérez, Darryl Semira, Norm Sham, Joyce Stilson, Alexandria Watts and Brandon Williamson join the cast for one performance each (in alphabetical order). For their order of appearance (one actor per evening, never to perform the part again) see below.
“That’s the true meaning of One Night Only,” says art director Chris J Handley. “RABBIT is a play about obedience and power. He asks the audience to question our environment, our beliefs and our reasons for following the rules, following advice, following the pack. He basically says, “Everyone is jumping off this bridge. The question is not whether to join them or not, but are you even able to form your own opinion? “
Sounds vaguely political, doesn’t it? Whether on the left or the right of the political spectrum, for decades we have all seen one side or the other portrayed as stupid dupes. This is why the playwright and his agents require the following disclaimer in all press releases:
URGENT: All Media and News Agents: This play is NOT overtly political and should not be presented as such. It operates on a deeper metaphorical level and very expressly avoids overt political commentary. urge to be judicious in their reporting. “
OK. We can do that. And, speaking of press releases, The Alleyway continues to inform us that: “Soleimanpour wrote the play while in exile in his home country, Iran, where he was a conscientious objector to the government-imposed military service obligation. Stripped of his passport, he wrote the piece so his words could travel even if he couldn’t. WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT is a great metaphor, investigating what happens when we are free to make our own choices and what happens when we are not.
Handley continued, “It’s funny, it’s serious, it’s daring, it’s full of surprises… that’s all great theater should be. In addition, it relies on the instinct of each actor to share it with us, totally at all times. “I can’t wait to see what happens every night.”
Each actor will only perform the play once. Once someone has seen or performed the play, they are not allowed to play it again – anywhere – so, every evening is an opening night.
The lane schedule is below. All performances at 7:30 p.m. For a “friends” discount, enter the last name of the actor who will be on stage the night (or nights) or your choice, for example, during the first week which could be CHASE or maybe WATTS or maybe be SEMIRA. There is no limit to the number of performances a member of the audience can see, but you will need to purchase a ticket for each party you attend.
Anthony Chase September 9
Alexandria Watts September 10
Darryl Semira September 11
Melinda Capeles September 16
Victoria Pérez September 17
Todd Benzin September 18
Peter Horn September 23
Don Gervasi September 24
Joyce Stilson September 25
Charmagne Chi September 30
Brandon Williams on October 1
Norman Sham October 2
The Alleyway Theater is located at 1 Curtain Up Alley, Buffalo NY 14202. The aisle connects Pearl Street to Main Street and follows the backstage wall of Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Individual tickets $ 42. Under 30: $ 30. Visit alleway.com or call 716-852-2600.
While regular subscriptions to see all four 2021/22 shows at the aisle are $ 150, discounted subscriptions are available for industry professionals, teachers, frontline workers, members of the lane. army and under 30s.
MORE ABOUT THE Dramaturg
Nassim Soleimanpour is a playwright, director and artistic director of the Berlin theater company Nassim Soleimanpour Productions. His plays have been translated into over 30 languages and performed around the world in over 50 countries. Best known for his play White Rabbit Red Rabbit, written to travel the world when he couldn’t, his work received the Dublin Fringe Festival Best New Performance, Summerworks Outstanding New Performance Text Award and The Arches Brick Award (Edinburgh Fringe) as as well as picking up nominations for a Total Theater and Brighton Fringe Pick of Edinburgh Award. White Rabbit Red Rabbit spent 9 months on Off-Broadway with famous actors like Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Lane, Martin Short, Bobby Cannavale, Wayne Brady, F. Murray Abraham, Cynthia Nixon, among other notables.
Nassim’s second play Blind Hamlet, commissioned by London-based Actors Touring Company, premiered at LIFT 2014 and toured in the UK and was well received in Edinburgh, Bucharest and Copenhagen. His third piece BLANK premiered in November 2015 simultaneously in Amsterdam, Utrecht and London and has so far been performed in UK, Australia, Spain, Mexico, USA, Argentina, India, in Finland, Denmark, Canada, etc.
His most recent play NASSIM produced by the Bush Theater in London premiered in August 2017 and won a Fringe First Award followed by over 300 performances in 12 languages around the world. NASSIM enjoyed a five-month success off Broadway with famous American actors such as: Michael Shannon, Zachary Quinto, Tracy Letts, Carrie Coon, Kate Walsh, Carla Gugino, Cory Michael Smith, Kathey Najimi, Richard Kind, Reed Birney and others. NASSIM won the 2019 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Unique Theater Experience.
Soleimanpour’s recent piece Down by the Creek was published by The New York Times as part of America 2024. He was commissioned to write a new piece for the audiobook platform Audible.