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Vivid memories of time past

Lorraine Graves   May-10-2019

Nassim Soleimanpour unwraps the script for Act 2 of “Nassim” as the actor waits onstage to read it cold to the waiting audience.

Photo by David Monteith-Hodge


When your mom has cuddled and read you a story, you never forget.

The language and love lives on in your memory, regardless of how far away you are in distance or time.

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That too is true for Nassim Soleimanpour. At one time, when forbidden to leave Tehran, Iran, Soleimanpour wrote the play, “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” which toured the world when he couldn’t.

Performed over a thousand times, that play won awards globally. Whoopi Goldberg and Stephen Fry have performed his work.

Now, living outside his home country, Soleimanpour has written a new award-winner, “Nassim.”

Cleverly presented, a different actor each night approaches the play cold, seeing the script and stage instructions for the first time when the audience sees them.

On my night, the actor was Adam Grant Warren, a well-known local actor, theatre-maker, writer, dancer, and arts educator. His incredulity and sense of humour blended with his ability to read cold copy as each new page, with a single sentence on it, appeared.

He was game for whatever the playwright threw at him, even a timed sprint in his wheelchair to find the playwright, hidden backstage, to claim a cup of tea served in a perfect, small, golden cup and saucer.

Upcoming actors Christine Quintana and Quelemia Sparrow both have strong Richmond connections. Quintana starred in “Yoga Play” at Gateway Theatre this past season while Sparrow’s roots in Richmond go back millennia on this Musqueam land.

Littered with humour and gentle pathos, this play’s live interaction between the at-first unseen playwright and the actor on stage, Soleimanpour’s eponymous play is vibrant and warm.

It tells the story of Soleimanpour as a small child on his mother’s lap, hearing her stories, in a now-faraway land. It is not a tragic tale, but nostalgia and love do seep in.

This Bush Theatre and Theatre Replacement production, made possible with support from the McGrane-Pearson Foundation, shows how innovation can help words hit home.

A story well-told and true-to-place, is universal. “Nassim” exemplifies that in spades.

Don’t miss it.

PS: Bring you heart, and maybe a hankie.

“Nassim” runs at the Cultch through May 19.

To see which actor is on which night, click.

For tickets.

The Cultch is an accessible venue.


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