Dublin Theatre Festival: NASSIM

Review by Joanna Kelly

Entering the Cube of the Project Arts Centre, the buzz around this show is very real. The programme illustrates that alongside the performer and writer, Nassim, a different actor joins him every night. The actor has not seen a script and is guided by Nassim. Ericka Roe is the actor in this performance, and her nervous excitement trickles through the audience as the lights dim.

Iranian playwright, Nassim Soleimanpour, has had his works performed all over the world and translated into many different languages. His innovative style has been somewhat limited, however, as he has never had the opportunity to stage his work in his mother tongue; Farsi. More importantly, his mother has never seen any of his successful works as she can only speak in Farsi. This is a show Nassim has dedicated to and very much written for his mother.

Ericka stands on a bare stage with a microphone and a screen behind her. Appearing on the screen are a pair of hands that turn the pages of the script and guides Ericka through her lines. She is instructed not to read the lines in italics, these are the words of Nassim, who remains silent throughout the performance speaking only through the pages he has written. The banter is playful between the two, he teaches her words in Farsi and she in turn teaches him words in English. Language is the basis of this play, and Ericka is the only one who speaks aloud. Nassim explains that his mother has never seen any of his plays due to the language barrier, and how much this pains him. He teaches Ericka, in Farsi, how to read the children’s story his mother used to read to him every night. I can guarantee that by the end of this moving performance, there was not a dry eye in the house.

Nassim Soleimanpour has created a stunning interactive show that proves language should never be a barrier to art. His cheery smile and silent comedy further add to the illusion of home he creates in the space and the energy remains fresh from beginning to end. Ericka gives a wonderfully eager performance and the minimal lighting and set ensures the focus is on the importance of the performances.

Motshakeram, Nassim. Thank you for your wonderfully inspiring and beautiful words. Let it be known the world over that your mother has every reason to be proud of you.



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