Edinburgh review: Blank (Summerhall)
Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour returns to the Edinburgh Fringe following the acclaimed White Rabbit, Red Rabbit
Playwright Nassim Soleimanpour made a name for himself with his play White Rabbit, Red Rabbit. Written whilst under house arrest in his native Iran, it went out around the world and his story was told for him by performers including Whoopi Goldberg and John Hurt.
In return he received thousands of emails from people telling him their own stories. These exchanges inspired his new play, Blank, which aims to provide a mechanism for the audience to become the playwright.
The premise is similar to Rabbit; a performer turns up and is given a script with no prior rehearsals or knowledge of what is written on the pages. Only this time, Soleimanpour has left blanks which we, the audience, have to fill in.
So, a different performer each night is the storyteller and a member of the audience becomes the character, deciding the juicy bits of their tale. Sounds promising. The only problem is that the success of the piece relies on Joe Bloggs being able to respond with something interesting, or at least entertaining. At the performance I saw - wonderfully 'hosted' by the coyish Nazli Zendeh, whose job it was to read the script and invite us to fill in the blanks - this wasn't the case.
But the unlucky punter picked at random (although she was in an Edinburgh Fringe uniform) wasn't to blame. Soleimanpour's script doesn't offer the opportunity to explore a storyline, but instead poses biographical and frankly mundane questions about the character - 'my favourite toy as a child was BLANK', 'it looked like a BLANK', to which the answer to both was 'teddy bear'.
Essentially, what we're left with is a ninety minute-long game of Consequences with no real consequence. In the old parlour game a man meets a woman and we find out what they wore and said to each other; don't expect to get much more than that from Blank.
Blank runs at Summerhall at 18.30 until 28 August (not 22).