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NASSIM by Nassim Soleiman­pour (Bush The­atre/Why Not The­atre/ Luminato). At the Berke­ley Street The­atre (26 Berke­ley). Runs to June 16. $24.25$50.07. luminato.com. See Con­tin­u­ing, page 40. Rat­ing: NNNN

Ira­nian play­wright Nassim Soleiman­pour had an in­ter­na­tional hit with his po­lit­i­cal play White Rab­bit Red Rab­bit, which, af­ter premier­ing in Toronto at Sum­mer Works in a 2011 pro­duc­tion by Vol­cano The­atre, has been per­formed more than 1,000 times by every­one from Stephen Fry to Whoopi Gold­berg.

Soleiman­pour wasn’t present for those per­for­mances, a chair rep­re­sent­ing his ab­sence be­cause he couldn’t leave his na­tive coun­try af­ter hav­ing re­fused to take part in mil­i­tary ser­vice.

He is present for his new, equally fas­ci­nat­ing play NASSIM, how­ever, even if it takes a while for him to ap­pear.

A guest artist, dif­fer­ent every show (on open­ing night it was The AMY Project artis­tic direc­tor Nikki Shaf­feeul­lah) fol­lows in­struc­tions on a screen about open­ing up a box in which Soleiman­pour’s script is wait­ing, un­seen.

What fol­lows, sharply di­rected by Omar Ele­rian, shouldn’t be spoiled – it’s part scav­enger hunt, part lan­guage course – but it in­volves learn­ing a few phrases in Farsi, play­ing some games and shar­ing pho­tos, sou­venirs and ideas about fam­ily and ro­mance.

Soleiman­pour’s text is al­ter­nately clever, funny and mov­ing. At its heart, it’s about the univer­sal power of sto­ry­telling, and the irony that his plays have been per­formed in so many places ex­cept his home coun­try.

The way he deals with that last is­sue is, sim­ply, re­mark­able, the mo­tifs and images com­ing to­gether in the mov­ing and heart­felt fi­nal min­utes.

Shaf­feeul­lah, spon­ta­neous and grounded (love how she added a non-gen­der-spe­cific riff on the phrase “ladies and gentle­men”), made an af­fa­ble, ar­tic­u­late guest, elic­it­ing con­tri­bu­tions from the au­di­ence with warmth and hu­mour.

The list of guests is im­pres­sive and in­cludes ac­tors Al­le­gra Ful­ton, Anand Ra­jaram and Karen Robin­son, nov­el­ist and play­wright Michael Red­hill, writer/broad­caster Amanda Par­ris and Vol­cano’s Ross Man­son.

I’m tempted to at­tend these other per­for­mances, if only to re-ex­pe­ri­ence the feel­ing of a room full of peo­ple shar­ing a com­mon lan­guage to wit­ness the strug­gles and joys of the hu­man con­di­tion. GLENN SUMI

LUMINATO RE­VIEW Nassim Soleiman­pour’s NASSIM adds life and light to Luminato.

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