Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast
Urbanite Theatre has joined forces with The Ringling Museum to present one of the events at Ringling International Arts Festival (RIAF), Nassim Soleimanpour's White Rabbit Red Rabbit. Soleimanpour is a youngish Iranian author who, at the time of the writing of this play, was unable to travel outside his native land. Contractually, the play must be presented as follows: An actor or actress enters the playing area and is handed a sealed envelope containing the play they are to perform; they open the envelope and start to read the play for the first time; the performance begins. Because it is required that the actor has never seen the play before, a different actor is required for each scheduled performance.
The play concludes a three-day run in the festival on October 21, then continues at Urbanite Theatre's home from October 25 through November 5. At the performance I attended, Tess Hogan, a respected area actress but not one I was terribly familiar with, was our actor. She gave a strong performance, especially for a cold reading. I could hear her well, except on the rare occasions when she went to the far side of the stage.
Reviewers were sent instructions just before the commencement of performances, requesting that we not reveal too much about the play. So, to speak generally, I will say that I believe the play will appeal more intellectually than emotionally. It is highly metaphysical, with doses of the French theater of the absurd. It is challenging and contains themes that are not comfortable. Aside from the partnership with RIAF, this is a play which fits perfectly with Urbanite's edgier fare.
Among the performers still to come are Eric Davis of freeFall Theatre, Roxanne Faye, and Jim Sorenson, of American Stage.
White Rabbit Red Rabbit, produced by Ringling Museum of Art and Urbanite Theatre, through October 21 2017, at 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL. For more information on the festival, call 1-800-660-4278 or visit www.ringling.org. For information on the run at Urbanite Theatre, visit www.urbanitetheatre.com.
Cast: Tess Hogan