Entertainment Hive 2018

Nassim

OzAsia Festival, AC Arts Centre, until November 3

Review by Honey B

Yeki bood yeki nabood. These words could mean anything. Roll them around on your tongue and they are lyrical, maybe a little familiar. Yeki bood yeki nabood is Farsi for, once upon a time. It’s the beginning to all good stories and this story is about an Iranian playwright, Nassim Soleimanpour, who made a promise to his mum to write a play she could understand, a play in his language – Farsi. He kept that promise in his latest offering, Nassim, which is a beautifully personal play exploring the intricacies of language and friendship. Soleimanpour certainly has a gift when it comes to language and its emotive power and his beautiful mind thinks outside the norm. For this play a performer is invited onto the stage having had no rehearsal or having even seen the script (there is a different performer each night). The script remains unseen in a big, sealed box and there is a microphone and a red X to mark the spot on which to stand and then the first page is turned. Australian rapper Joel Ma (Joelistics) was the first guinea pig at this year’s OzAsia Festival to try his hand at this unique performance. With his own gift for language and performance, Ma was warm, funny and wore his heart on his sleeve. He kept reminding the audience that he wasn’t an actor, but he didn’t need to protest, his openness and honesty was a pure delight. As much as this play is about language, it’s also about friendship and it saw Ma create one with the playwright over the course of the evening. The two shared a cup of tea, photographs and stories in charming and unexpected ways. The audience also became an integral part of the journey as we learnt to speak Farsi and fulfil his promise to his mumun. This play proves that language can bring us closer together. It’s an inspiring shared experience.
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