This composite image shows the cast of Perseverance Theatre’s production of “White Rabbit Red Rabbit.” The play features one actor each night reading a script for the first time. Pictured are (top row) Frank Delaney, Frank Henry Kaash Katasse, Ericka Lee, Martin Sensmeier, (middle row) Ben Brown, Allison Holtkamp, Enrique Bravo, (bottom row) Jesse Alleva, Rebecca George and Tia Carrere. (Courtesy Photos)

This composite image shows the cast of Perseverance Theatre’s production of “White Rabbit Red Rabbit.” The play features one actor each night reading a script for the first time. Pictured are (top row) Frank Delaney, Frank Henry Kaash Katasse, Ericka Lee, Martin Sensmeier, (middle row) Ben Brown, Allison Holtkamp, Enrique Bravo, (bottom row) Jesse Alleva, Rebecca George and Tia Carrere. (Courtesy Photos)

11 ‘very brave’ performers bring adventurous play to Perseverance Theatre’s virtual stage

No rehearsal. No direction. And an unknown script.

You won’t hear the stars of Perseverance Theatre’s upcoming production say they were drawn to the show after falling in love with the script.

“White Rabbit Red Rabbit,” which opens virtually Friday, is an award-winning play by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour, meant to be performed by an actor reading the script for the first time.

“Every night, this show is going to be different,” said Perseverance Theatre artistic director Leslie Ishii in a video interview. “I really am excited about that. It is going to vary every single night. Maybe drastically.”

There’s no rehearsal and no direction, Ishii said.

“White Rabbit Red Rabbit” boils down to an actor, an unfamiliar script that will be unsealed live and an audience. In Perseverance Theatre’s production, the audience will be instructed to keep their electronic devices’ cameras on for an unspecified element of audience participation hinted at by associate producer Joseph Biagini in a video interview. In-person versions of the play ask audience members to keep their cellphones on.

“I think it requires a very brave performer to be able to say yes to this program,” Biagini said.

Perseverance Theatre found 11 such performers to fill out a cast that includes local favorites, theater board members and nationally known names who are willing to jump into the unknown with both feet.

Performers include Martin Sensmeier (April 16), Frank Henry Kaash Katasse (April 17), Allison Holtkamp (April 18), Enrique Bravo (April 22), Ellen D. Williams( April 23), Rebecca George (April 24), Ben Brown (April 25), Tia Carrere (April 29), Jesse Alleva (April 30), Ericka Lee (May 1) and Frank Delaney (May 2).

Katasse said in a video interview he’s excited about the project as a performer but also interested in seeing what others do with the material.

“I think it’s kind of cool to be able to tune in and watch a different interpretation of the script,” Katasse said.

He added he was pleased to be involved in a project that features the talents of both Carrere and Sensmeier.

Carrere, who Ishii knows through overlapping time in Los Angeles, has a body of work that includes “Wayne’s World,” “Lilo & Stitch” and roles in many small screen institutions. Sensmeier is a Tlingit and Koyukon/Athabaskan actor who appeared in “The Magnificent Seven” and HBOs “Westworld” among other projects.

“To be able to share a virtual time and space and stage with both of them is pretty neat,” Katasse said.

However, he said he’d honor the going-in-cold commitment and would forego watching Sensmeier’s performance.

Biagini and Ishii said the virtual nature of Perseverance Theatre’s production of “White Rabbit Red Rabbit allowed the project to cast a wide net for talent. Like Katasse, they each said they’re exciting to see what the actors do with the script.

Ishii said as artistic director for the theater, she felt duty-bound to read the script.

Both she and Biagini praised its contents while staying mum on any plot or theme specifics.

“I read it out loud for my own experience,” Ishii said. “It’s a really interesting experience. I don’t want to say too much.”

She declined to say which moments in particular stood out but said there are some portions that are intense.

“It’s intense,” Biagini agreed. “That’s a good way to put it.”

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

Know & Go

What: “White Rabbit Red Rabbit”

When: 7:30 p.m. on April 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 29 and 30, as well as May 1 and 2. 4 p.m. on April 18 and 25.

Where: Online.

Admission: Pay-as-you-can, with $12, $17, & $27 options available.

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