Culture » Performing Arts

Star Bar Players' White Rabbit Red Rabbit serves as social experiment and social commentary


We’re going to tell you to see a play, but we’re not going to tell you what it’s about. In part, because we don’t know. Nor do the performers. Nor, truly, does the artistic director of Star Bar Players, Beth Clements-Mosley, who only read a portion of the script before deciding she wanted to see it live instead.

White Rabbit Red Rabbit is meant to be a secret, a surprise, an organic, evolving theatrical experience that changes based on who happens to be performing it. Performers may not view the script beforehand, or perform it twice, and they are given only two instructions: don’t Google the play, and prepare an impersonation of an ostrich.

Playwright Nassim Soleimanpour sent White Rabbit Red Rabbit out into the world as much as a social experiment as a piece of entertainment. Once barred from leaving Iran for his refusal to perform the required two years of national service, “this is his way of traveling the world, essentially,” Clements-Mosley says. Soleimanpour sent out very clear instructions with his one-man script: that audience members should take photos and video, send him updates and reactions, and that companies staging the show should reserve a seat for him, though the seat may remain empty.

So what can you expect? Or, rather, what can we reveal without spoiling the fun? Well, in spite of the air of mystery surrounding it, and the reason for its creation, White Rabbit Red Rabbit has been referred to as raucously funny. Clements-Mosely calls it “gallows humor,” saying, “I think people are often funniest when things are awful ... This is just how he’s dealt with things that are difficult for him.”

Star Bar Players have assembled a host of local performers, community leaders and actors to carry the show through its three-week run. Last week, Rev. Dr. Nori Rost of All Souls Unitarian Church opened the show, followed by actor Hossein Forouzandeh. Future performers include actress Lynne Hastings, Colorado Springs Business Journal columnist and former Indy columnist John Hazlehurst, local hip-hop legend Stoney Bertz and more. It’s a diverse lineup of performers, each bringing what Clements-Mosley calls their personal “alchemy” to the show.

“They’re performing and processing this stuff, which is surprising them as much as it’s surprising you,” she says. “[The actors] bring a wide variety of life and world experience, people who can relate to different aspects of [the play].”

And because the performance will change based on who holds the script each night, Star Bar has offered multi-night discounts. Full price for the first show, $9 for the second and $7 for any after that. It’s a good deal, and a great way to see the social experiment in action as it evolves.

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