Conspicuous Consumption, Getting More Conspicuous Onstage


Instagram was not nonetheless 5 years earlier in April 2015 when two Iranians barely out of their youngsters died in a lemon yellow Porsche Boxster GTS that veered off a avenue and slammed related related acceptable related related associated related related acceptable related related associated related acceptable associated related acceptable associated related acceptable acceptable associated acceptable acceptable acceptable acceptable acceptable acceptable associated acceptable acceptable associated acceptable acceptable acceptable acceptable acceptable associated acceptable associated associated acceptable acceptable associated acceptable associated acceptable related acceptable acceptable related acceptable associated acceptable related associated associated acceptable associated associated acceptable associated associated acceptable acceptable associated acceptable acceptable acceptable acceptable related acceptable associated associated associated associated acceptable 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acceptable associated acceptable acceptable associated acceptable associated related acceptable related associated related associated associated acceptable associated associated related associated acceptable related associated associated related associated related related acceptable related related acceptable related associated acceptable related acceptable acceptable related associated associated acceptable associated associated acceptable associated related associated associated acceptable associated associated related associated associated related associated associated related associated related acceptable associated associated acceptable associated related acceptable associated acceptable acceptable associated acceptable acceptable acceptable acceptable acceptable acceptable acceptable associated acceptable acceptable related acceptable acceptable acceptable related acceptable acceptable related acceptable associated related associated associated related related associated related 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acceptable acceptable relevant applicable appropriate correct proper right into a tree.

But in “Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran,” a play written by Javaad Alipoor, the photo-sharing app might as appropriately have been a historian making a file of privilege, an archaeologist rooting by the trash of the sooner.

And, now, a theatrical gadget. “Rich Kids,” a part of the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival, makes use of a fictional Instagram feed to inform the true story of Mohammad Hossein Rabbani Shirazi, who owned the flowery automotive, and Parivash Akbarzadeh, who was driving it too quick. While listening to the story as narrated by two actors, viewers members are instructed to swipe on their telephones by path of events, swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming 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swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming pools, drug toots and procuring journeys that rewind the minutes, hours, years and in the long run millenniums foremost as tons as a consequence of crash.

As that format suggests, “Rich Kids,” which originated as a defend stage manufacturing on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019, is further inside the large sociological image than contained all by the characters themselves. Hossein (Alipoor) is sketched in foremost colours on account of the feckless princeling son of a revolutionary hero, who now builds high-end procuring malls; Parivash (Peyvand Sadeghian) will get a barely further nuanced portrait as a fatalistic opportunist marking time with Hossein, regardless that he’s engaged to a singular lady. What brings them collectively and ends of their tragedy is solely not going to be love and even recklessness nonetheless a illness the play diagnoses as late-capitalist consumerist mania.

Though there is not a moment in the earnest, theatrical “Espíritu” (written and directed by Trinidad González) you would ever confuse with a moment in the slick, cerebral “Rich Kids,” that doesn’t mean they have nothing to say to each other. In one of the “Espíritu” vignettes, an entitled rich character not unlike Hossein yells from his window at a young woman in the street who makes the mistake of standing near his car. She is trespassing in his light, he says: Because it comes from his apartment, it is his “private property.”

In another vignette, an inconsolable woman screams at the feckless musician who offers her love but cannot provide anything she actually desires. If the ethos of manic acquisitiveness has reduced her to wailing “I want a car,” his rejection of that ethos has transformed him, she says, “into a clown.”

The focus of “Espíritu,” which also features a park bench vigilante, a sweaty tangoist and an unidentifiable creature with a head made of red stocking, is squarely on the clowns, not the maniacs. It begins with the three actors planning a revolution they are grandiose enough to imagine in poetic terms — they are going to trap the world’s evil in a bottle and dispose of it — but are actually too feckless to carry out. “Espíritu” asks what role they, and by extension the theater, can play in change-making: If artists are engaged in purely personal expression, how are they better than the mad consumers they mock? Isn’t shopping their personal expression?

Instagram would have you think so, which is a point “Rich Kids” makes in both content and format. The narration of Hossein and Parivash’s story is never as vivid as the lurid photos assembled to illustrate it. The cars, the watches and the magnums of Champagne are merely modern ways of doing what Thomas Gainsborough did (as the play points out) for class-conscious 18th-century Englishmen in paintings like “Mr and Mrs Andrews.” They make wealth visible, not only to others but also to the wealthy themselves.

For all of the intelligence on display, I began to feel that “Rich Kids” — created by Alipoor and Kirsty Housley, and directed by both — was doing something similar. Not so much with its complex tech, which has an expressive purpose. Thumbing your phone while watching your screen while reading the Instagram captions while hearing them spoken by actors, not always in sync, you are forced to experience the kind of oversaturation that (the play argues) helped derange the “aghazadeh” generation of privileged post-revolutionary Iranians.

But in its many overlays of historical and even geological information, “Rich Kids” traffics in a mania related to the consumerist one it diagnoses: information mania. In a series of throat-clearing introductions that eat up nearly 15 minutes of the hourlong presentation, we are told that what we’re about to see is a story not just about Hossein and Parivash but also about civilizational collapse, thermodynamics, the nature of narrative and “the billions of tiny decisions that make up history and get us here.”

“Everything is about everything,” Alipoor explained in a post-show discussion.

True, but perhaps a tighter edit would have made something more fully about something.



Source link Nytimes.com

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