White Rabbit, Red Rabbit: Truly an actor's play

It is a spontaneous play in which the script is handed over to the actor only 30 minutes before the performance

It has always been believed that theatre is an actor's medium. Unlike other mediums – where actors can give retakes, director can change angles and improvise the performance – in theatre, once the script is written and directions are given, it's absolutely on the actor, the stage, and the audience to make the story come alive.

Proving the long believed theory right, Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour wrote the play 'White Rabbit, Red Rabbit'.

After being perfomed in over 25 languages by artists from across the world since 2010, the play is returning to Delhi, with Sumeet Vyas in the lead.

As it is a spontaneous play in which the script is handed over to the actor only 30 minutes before the performance, Vyas is excited as well as nervous to take up this challenge and explore the adventure. "I just hope that I don't make a fool of myself on stage, because as exciting as it sounds, I would say it is scary too."

"I think the most interesting part of this play is that not all of it is going to be the writer's play. What you see on stage, will come from me, from the actor. Like how I perceive it, how I want to narrate it," adds Sumeet, who will be performing in the play to be held at Pearey Lal Bhavan, on August 31 as a part of Delhi Theatre Festival.

What makes this play so unique and challenging? "It was written by the playwright when he was confined in a house. That is what he wants. He wants every actor performing the play to feel what emotions he felt while he was writing the play caged in a room – the isolation, and conflict within self," states the actor, who has been involved in theatre from the age of 17.

Discussing his character, preparation for the performance, the actor says that he is not supposed to know anything about the story. He has nothing to research, he even cannot approach any actor who has previously acted in the play. "It is a rule that any actor who has watched this play before cannot act in it."

Recalling one incident, where he was about to see the play, he shares, "I once heard that Ali Fazal and Atul Kumar are performing in Mumbai and I was excited to catch that show. But I don't know somehow I could not watch them perform. Later, when I met them, they told me that this play is the best thing that happened to them as actors. They even refused to tell me anything about it, they said, 'no, we are not telling you anything, and it is great that you have not watched this play, now someday you can perform this too, and you will know what we are feeling right now. Then we will sit and talk about it'."

But why is this a rule, why can't you watch it or talk about it? "It is just a respect for the craft that all the people who have either performed or seen this play, do not reveal it to others, so that they get the chance to experience the beauty of it," Sumeet answers.

Before entering the film industry, the 'Permanent Rommates' famed actor was a full-fledged theatre artist. But for last 3-4 years, he has been really busy acting in films and web shows, and could not find a new play for himself. However, he has been performing quite a few shows of his previous plays in the meanwhile.

So, how does he choose his plays?

"What people think is not my concern while I am choosing a project for myself. I look for things thinking 'what have I not done till date'. Especially when it comes to theatre, you need to keep pushing your limits and do something new every time."

Sumeet feels that theatre is beyond money, fame and all other materialistic things.

The third edition of Delhi theater festival is being organised by Alchemist Live.

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