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White Rabbit Red Rabbit

Members say: Thought-provoking, Clever, Original, Ambitious, Entertaining
72
Critics
65
11 reviews
Members
73
119 reviews
 

Every show, a new star (including Nathan Lane, Whoopi Goldberg, and others) takes on a unique challenge: the actor is handed a script onstage to perform without the help of a director, rehearsals, or a set.

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Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour is a conscientious objector who refused to take part in mandatory military service and was denied a passport. Forbidden to leave his country, he transcribed his experience of isolation into this unique stage work, an absurdist adventure blending comedy and drama. Each performance features a different actor who sees the script for the first time while stepping onstage.

 


Reviews (130)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
65
Avg Score

90
The New York Times

"A playful, enigmatic and haunting solo show...The play is a conversation among playwright, performer and audience, a conversation that, for all its diverting humor, takes on a gravity that prickles your skin...Some other passages slide perilously close to pretentiousness, and much is shrouded in obscurity and frisky quirkiness. But Mr. Soleimanpour’s elliptical play keeps taking odd, unexpected turns that often lead us back to the relief of laughter." Full Review

65
New York Post

"Nassim Soleimanpour’s text is designed to accommodate any gender, race or age, which is how Nathan Lane could do the inaugural performance last week and I could see Whoopi Goldberg...Soleimanpour is Iranian, and he was in Tehran when he wrote 'White Rabbit Red Rabbit.' The show is clearly influenced by living in an authoritarian regime. It’s playful and often funny, but there’s a serious undertone—the rabbits are part of a lengthy allegory about peer pressure, obedience and repression." Full Review

45
The Hollywood Reporter

"“It's extremely meta-theatrical, with the playwright often directly addressing the audience through his onstage messenger…Suffused with animal allegories — rabbits are not the only creatures who figure in the scenario — and macabre elements, the piece is ultimately too obscure and diffuse to have the desired impact…Ultimately, the show's main interest will come from the inevitably very different experiences offered by the varied performers." Full Review

45
The Guardian (UK)

“The form that 'White Rabbit Red Rabbit' employs, in which the performer encounters a script cold, is not precisely a new technique…But Lane will never perform the show again, by design and perhaps also by choice...He did what was required of him, sometimes enthusiastically, sometimes reluctantly, always with charm. Perhaps a more earnest performer would have wrung more sincerity from the script, which is ultimately not perhaps as experimental or resonant as it wishes to be.” Full Review

60
New York Magazine / Vulture

"That such a work—politically fraught but stylistically passé—has wound up at the Westside Theatre is almost absurd in itself...The play itself is terribly earnest, filled with phrases like 'it tastes of freedom'...But if the dated style and lingo occasionally led Lane to roll his eyes or otherwise undermine the text, he was sometimes pulled up short by its power." Full Review

35
Lighting & Sound America

"'White Rabbit Red Rabbit' has reportedly been staged all over the world, and yet I suspect its success has more to do with star power than anything in the script. Fans of any of the names mentioned above may be entertained by spending an hour with one of their favorites in a rather novel context. But I fear that the author's intention travels very badly indeed." Full Review

65
The Huffington Post

"As the rabbit tale extended, Soleimanpour turned it into a parable...I should only mention that many audience members seemed to be having a good time right up to the oddball conclusion. I decided that Soleimanpour risks becoming annoyingly specious when he attempts to incriminate us all regarding our lack of concern about oppressed peoples when we’re safe elsewhere. Yes, the producers’ request for review silence prohibits me from substantiating my claim, but there it is, all the same." Full Review

80
Deadline

“The play requires just one actor, who has not seen the script before this performance…[Lane] is a master of the ad lib, and he was in top form, those drawbridge eyebrows and parenthetical smile lines animating his razor-sharp delivery...We are in allegory territory offering equivalent doses of comedy and moral observation…For reasons I can’t go into, the actor is denied that ultimate act of audience participation, a round of applause at the end. Lane deserved one, for sure." Full Review

75
Act Three - The Reviews

"My advice to you is to go see someone you like. Someone who is a fairly good story =teller and can handle the spontaneity of interacting with the audience and reading at the same time...The message is confusing, but potent. The story is choppy and a bit messy and unfocused. But if you listen carefully you can really hear a young Iranian playwright vigorously trying to convey an important message through an unrehearsed actor on the stage with a little help from the audience." Full Review

75
Stage Buddy

"Whether or not you’ll enjoy this play depends largely on your enthusiasm for allowing your mind to take a turn toward paranoia. Soleimanpour’s words lead viewers down some unlit alleys that are probably not particularly dangerous—until you consider that the playwright himself moves through such treacherous passages on a daily basis. It’s possible to laugh the whole thing off, but I found with surprise that my pulse quickened at certain moments." Full Review

95
Entertainment Weekly

"'White Rabbit Red Rabbit' by Nassim Soleimanpour — a dazzling, transcendent piece of alive-and-kicking avant-garde theater — is performed by a different lead actor or actress every time it’s staged...Without discussing its many dazzling swings in tone, I’ll say that it is steeped in self-referencing and metaphorical tales about animals, and builds to several surprisingly emotional peaks about the shared experience of art." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
73
Avg Score

79
Funny, Clever, Thought-provoking

See it if If you like experimental theatre where the actor/reader has not seen the script. Some audience participation. Fun time. Saw it last year

Don't see it if You want a polished performance and a directed piece. The actor only had stage directions to rely on.

Also I saw George Takai who was a great sport! And it felt like we explored... Read more Read less

70
Original, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Indulgent, Gimmicky

See it if you are a fan of the featured actor. I saw Mike Birbiglia, whose comedic and improvisational skills were crucial to my enjoyment of the show

Don't see it if you're put off by audience participation and the playwright's preachy tone.

82
Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Unique, Unexpected

See it if you are a fan of the actor performing, but there are more reasons to see this unique, thought-provoking piece. Expect the unexpected!

Don't see it if you are not looking for something to make you think or if you are looking for a more traditional theatrical experience

Also I have been thinking about this show a lot since seeing it. I saw it w... Read more Read less

80
Ambitious, Clever, Intelligent, Quirky, Relevant

See it if You're looking for something different, like things that don't end wrapped in a pretty bow, and like the actor in the role.

Don't see it if You're looking for a straightforward, linear show. Don't go if you don't want to think. It's funny, but thought-provoking. I've seen it 2x.

75
Clever

See it if Go to this interesting theater experience when the actor invited is one that you want to experience up close and in a spontaneous manner.

Don't see it if Do not go to this if you expect a well rehearsed linear play.

70
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Indulgent

See it if you like monologues, thought experiments, and/or have an interest in Iran. Or if you really like the actor performing.

Don't see it if you want a narrative or a play with characters; if you sighed throughout the entirety of your college metaphysics class.

Also Nassim Soleimanpour's first play in English, written (at least partly)... Read more Read less

68
Clever, Thought-provoking, Indulgent, Great writing, Overrated

See it if You like creative theater-writing, improvisational-type surprises, and thought-provoking themes amidst humor.

Don't see it if You want linear story-telling or character development. This is almost like scripted stand-up work - albeit with some twists.

60
Indulgent, Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if The visiting actor is someone you really like and who entertains you no matter what.

Don't see it if You aren't up for a little risk.

82
Original, Absorbing, Clever, Indulgent, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy interactive theater and are a fan of the performer of the night

Don't see it if you want a tidy satisfying ending or expect profound insights

48
Banal

See it if Over priced show

Don't see it if You are expecting an amazing experice

67
Clever, Great acting, Confusing

See it if you love to see great actors forced to work outside of their comfort zones. If you are interested in unique off-Broadway works.

Don't see it if you want to know exactly what you're going to see. If you want something with singular tone--this will toss you back and forth.

84
Original, Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, Profound

See it if You like unconventional theater and don't mind a little experimental staging or audience participation.

Don't see it if You want a more structured, traditional narrative; you don't want to possibly be pulled on stage.

70
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Confusing

See it if you like experimental theatre or are a fan of the particular actor. The play is thought-provoking , but also messy and underdeveloped.

Don't see it if you don't like audience participation, don't like watching actors on book, want a straightforward story, are expecting something profound

55
Original, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Overrated, Meta

See it if you want to see a story of oppression written as an unusual allegory; you want to see a particular celebrity in an intimate setting.

Don't see it if you expect anything notably profound; you need a tidy story; you hate audience participation; you roll your eyes at the meta-theatre trope.

75
Quirky, Entertaining

See it if you like audience participation, and being part of the plot.

Don't see it if you don't like audience participation, and politics.

50
Original

See it if I don't trust this show. The actor is not supposed to have read the script before they perform it. when I saw this in boston I believed

Don't see it if this could be the case but I think the word is out on this.

60
Original, Ambitious, Quirky, Disappointing, Pretentious

See it if You're a huge fan of the actor performing, you enjoy audience participation

Don't see it if You're expecting something profound, you get really cranky when disappointed by not seeing something profound

65
Original, Ambitious, Disappointing

See it if you are curious about a play given to a performer who has never seen it before and wonder what will happen, or love the actor participating.

Don't see it if you are looking for a cohesive story or meaning, hate audience participation.

88
Original, Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Hilarious

See it if experimental, improv, audience involved theatre excites you! This is a very unique experience. Part existential part stand up.

Don't see it if you don't like free wheeling, seat of your pants evening leave you cold. The performer you see makes ALL the difference in the experience

70
Funny, Ambitious, Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You want an intimate show in a play that the actor has never seen until he/she gets on stage. It leaves you thinking and grateful.

Don't see it if You're not willing to participate in the show or not up on the current political climate.

65
Clever, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you're a fan of the actor reading the script that evening and are looking to see them candid and uncensored.

Don't see it if you're expecting a great play. The evening doesn't really rise above "clever" and "interesting". The script could have gone much deeper.

75
Funny, Original, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You are a fan of the actor who is performing. That is a big piece of what will make this fun. I saw Kathy Najimy who was wonderful.

Don't see it if You can't roll with spontaneity.

80
Original, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Saw with kathy najimy

See it if You like original theater that makes you think and laugh.

Don't see it if You like theater with a well constructed plot line.

72
Thought-provoking, Performer dependent, Both better & worse than you think, A lot of audience participation, Meta, very, very meta

See it if You're willing to go on an unknown journey w/the performer & audience. You're curious about the play: if you're reading these reviews-go.

Don't see it if You hate audience participation. You hate meta plays. You want to know the plot before seeing the play. You don't like the scheduled actor.

62
Original, Disappointing, Excruciating, Overrated, Slow

See it if you like the person scheduled to perform...

Don't see it if you are expecting any kind of a show, and don't like wasting your time...