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Blank review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘clever script with profound overtones’

Blank at Summerhall, Edinburgh Blank at Summerhall, Edinburgh
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Playwright Nassim Soleimanpour continues his formal investigation of structure with Blank, the latest production in which a performer sees the script for the first time when they are on stage, in front of their audience.

The play evolves as a surprise for both parties. Indeed, much of the narrative evolves as the audience and the play’s character fill in the blanks, making each performance unique. This is, in its purest form, Soleimanpour’s playmaking machine; each performance a powering up of a new play and new ending.

Having started the cold reading idea with White Rabbit Red Rabbit out of necessity, here it feels more of a gimmick. Not knowing the whole truth certainly helps, complete absence of knowledge of the script is less of a requirement. At times it is a hindrance and there are pieces of audience interaction which would become less clunky with a partial reveal.

Soleimanpour’s questions and phrases do dictate much of what occurs, however. And the play ultimately questions where we feature in the stories we spin of our lives. In so doing, it challenges us to make ourselves prominent, not sink into the background and become the writing left on the wall when all is done.

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Verdict
Clever script with profound overtones, puts each new performer – and their audience – on the spot
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