A scene from ‘Nassim’
A scene from ‘Nassim’

Language Freedom, Limitation Explored in Persian Play

This is probably the only show that is also a lesson in speaking Farsi. Although the real lesson is about speaking the universal language of humanity

Language Freedom, Limitation Explored in Persian Play

The play ‘Nasim’ written and directed by playwright Nassim Soleimanpour, based in Germany, is on stage at Edinburgh Festival in the UK.
Unable to speak a language, which renders one literally speechless, is the factor which makes one feel strange when going to a foreign country. This idea is explored in the latest work by Soleimanpour.
Soleimanpour is best known for ‘White Rabbit Red Rabbit’ - a clever, subversive piece about the slipperiness of language and meaning that has been translated into 20 different languages.
According to the Guardian, he employs the audience and a different actor each night. Throughout, the director keeps control of the words by turning the pages of the script, which is projected in its entirety on a screen.
The show becomes a dialogue between playwright, actor and audience, in which everyone involved has to struggle to make themselves understood.
This is probably the only show that is also a lesson in speaking Farsi. Although the real lesson is about speaking the universal language of humanity.
It explores the freedom and limitation of language, whether through censorship or the difficulties of speaking in one language and feeling in another.
The act of staging the show is a striking demonstration of how words can keep people apart but also bring them together.
The play has been suggested by Dominic Cavendish, an experienced British theater critic, as one of the best shows at the festival. “No rehearsals. No preparation. Just a sealed envelope and an actor reading a script for the first time,” Telegraph quoted him as saying.
“The willing volunteer not only has to read projected pages, turned in real-time on a screen by the author - sitting elsewhere in the building, as if in another country - he also has to pick up a smattering of Farsi (and audience-members get a crash-course too),” he added.
As Cavendish described, the works is sweetly entertaining, ingeniously thought-provoking and fully heart-warming.


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