The creators of the award-winning, The Believers Are But Brothers, return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August, with the world premiere of a show that confronts climate change anxiety, the collapse of political certainties and how privileged kids behave on Instagram.
Rich Kids, the second part of a trilogy of plays from Javaad Alipoor, is inspired by the stories that power unrest across large swathes of the world. While the leaders of countries like Iran preach an austere form of nationalism and religion, their children enjoy the fruits of their parents’ riches: social media means that the poorest can see how the rich are living.
It is a story about the Rich Kids of Tehran. The gap between rich and poor is getting bigger and bigger around the world. Social media is accelerating this ever-deepening divide. In the global south we see the children of elites and post-colonial dictatorships, flashing cash, dollar signs, Bollinger and infinity pool holidays while people languish under sanctions and dictatorships. All around the world more and more people, like their countries, are running out of steam, and their ruling classes are only out for themselves. Rich Kids asks, how did we get here, and what might come next.
But this is also, a play about Instagram.
Alipoor’s trilogy of plays started with a whatsapp show, The Believers Are But Brothers, this second part has a different social media angle.
Photographs have always done something weird to how we tell stories. As Susan Sontag pointed out, they have a way of freezing time, and making things look like they start, stop or at least pause at certain places. It’s not that the way we tell the story of our lives on Instagram or by photo is any less truthful than any other way we curate ourselves.
But it’s so easy to publish, you can share and scroll with almost limitless resource. Nothing ever runs out. So about 1.8 billion pictures are uploaded to social media every day. That’s 657 billion a year. Which is to say, every two minutes human beings share more photographs than existed in total a century ago.
And this is also a show about history and the way it feels like its catching up with us …..
Writer and performer, Javaad Alipoor, said “The Fringe is a fantastic place to premiere work, particularly timely work exploring the society we live in. It’s exciting to be performing it for the first time at the Traverse, with its reputation for new writing.”
Javaad Alipoor is an artist, director, writer and activist who regularly makes theatre with and for communities that don’t usually engage in the arts. In 2017 his play, The Believers Are But Brothers, opened at Transform Festival in Leeds before transferring for a sold-out, critically acclaimed run at Summerhall at the Edinburgh Fringe, where it received a Scotsman Fringe First Award. It has since enjoyed a London run, toured to Sweden, Canada and Australia, and was adapted for television and premiered on BBC4 in March 2019. He is a Scotsman Fringe First and Columbia University Digital Storytelling Award winner.
Rich Kids is a Javaad Alipoor and HOME co-production, which is co-commissioned by Diverse Actions, Theatre in the Mill, Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Bush Theatre.
Alipoor’s breakthrough play, the first in the trilogy, The Believers Are But Brothers also returns to the Fringe this year after its hugely successful run in 2017. Fresh from the UK premiere of its BBC4 adaptation, this Scotsman Fringe First (2017) winner returns for a limited run at Assembly, opening on 19 August.
From the postcolonial Middle East, to the EU and USA, old orders are collapsing. Tech-savvy extremist groups are ripping up rulebooks while a generation of young men burn with resentment and unfulfilled self-entitlement whilst falling into online worlds of fantasy, violence and reality.
‘Complex… masterly… one of the most fascinating shows I have seen in an age’ ***** (Financial Times).
The Believers Art But Brothers is part of the British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2019. Originally co-commissioned by HOME, Transform and Ovalhouse.