Blind Hamlet review at Assembly Roxy
Nassim Soleimanpour’s White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, back at the fringe again this year, was a play written to be performed by a different actor each time.
Here, in his new play, actors are taken out of the equation all together. The stage manager places a voice recorder under a microphone and the audience hears the voice of the ‘playwright.’ He is genial, warm, interested in the people his voice is sharing a room with. He is also losing his sight. He is invisible to us and soon he will no longer to be able to see faces, the words on the page. In the meantime he is reading Hamlet for the first time, while he is still able.
He invites several audience members on stage, who then interact with this recording as if it were a performer. He asks them to shut their eyes and think about unseen things. He asks them to play games.
There are some intriguing ideas here about what it is to be present, about liveness and performance. The simple staging and the inevitable variability which comes from using different audience members each time also echoes Ramin Gray and ATC’s previous production, The Events. But the piece comes to an abrupt end without fully exploring or engaging with these ideas.