Ayad Akhtar’s clever writing in The Invisible Hand almost makes me understand the financial market and confirms what we all know about bankers…
“You see we are prisoners of a corrupt country that is our own making. But don’t pretend you don’t participate. You do. Of course you do”
In the way of these things, the Kiln Theatre has pretty much fallen off my radar somehow, I can’t remember the last thing I saw there so I should be grateful that their recent production of The Invisible Hand was captured on film by Sky Arts. Ayad Akhtar’s play was first staged at the Tricycle (as was) in 2016 and Indhu Rubasingham’s return to it earlier this year marks its first revival.
Basically a locked room play, we follow the trials of US banker Nick Bright who has been kidnapped by a Pakistani militant group. Trouble is, his employers aren’t interested in paying his ransom and so Nick has to barter his way to potential freedom, by offering to tutor one of the group in the ways of the financial markets so that they can earn the equivalent amount.
You can see why it was so popular. Far from just an economics lecture on the sly, it’s a big and bold indictment of capitalism and how it can warp morality way across ethnic, cultural and political bounds. Tensions and stakes rise and rise as the inter-relationships between the four men here twist and turn – Sid Sagar, Tony Jayawardena, Scott Karim and Daniel LaPaine all impressing – leading to a blistering ending. Very glad to have caught this at last.