A hit of the 2022 Sydney Festival, ‘Rich Kids’ is an immersive digital play blending theatre projection with interactive content streamed directly to your mobile phone. Drug-fuelled parties, fast cars, hyper-consumerism – the children of the Iranian elite-class live out their excessive and extravagant lifestyle on social media while the rest of the country lives under an oppressive regime.
“I’ve seen productions that expanded my ideas of what kind of art could be made in these liminal spaces – but none have made me think so intensely about what it means to mediate and narrate our lives through these technologies as Rich Kids.” 4.5 stars
Presented by Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta and the result of an ongoing collaboration between NTofP and Manchester-based The Javaad Alipoor Company, Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran was a standout at this year’s Sydney Festival.
While the majority of Iranian’s live under an oppressive dictatorship, the children of the country’s elite live out their excessive and extravagant lifestyles on social media. In an interactive digital presentation – part onscreen, and partly in your hand on mobile – come and dive into a world of drug-fuelled parties, fast cars and hyper-consumerism.
Like any late-night internet binge, we start by scrolling through instagram, but before we know it, we are taken on a whirlwind journey from revolution, to imperialism, to the entropy of the universe. It is darkly comedic and deeply revealing.
Winner of the 2019 Scotsman Fringe First Award, Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran is Javaad Alipoor’s unique digital storytelling at its best.
"Like all of us who come from more than one background, or have a family history of refugee status or migration, internationalism is something that I feel in my bones. So as a political artist, the traditional English writer or directors dream of making a “state of the nation” play has always struck me as parochial, and unambitious – I strive to make state of the world theatre. And there’s no point in doing that if you can’t find friends and interlocutors around the world to share that work with. This is a show that is fundamentally about the feeling of careening out of control, down a path that you don’t understand. I think now more than ever we all understand that feeling. I really hope that you get some of the same space for thought, laughs and weird handwrought joy from watching this show that my collaborators and I got from making it.”
Javaad Alipoor, Co-creator
"It is consumption that forms the thematic heart of this production, but it is the superbly nuanced use of technology that speaks to both young and old, Insta native or Insta naïve. Technically this production has a seamless use of brilliantly sourced and apposite material, hundreds of images that are perfectly placed inside the experience to be logical and expository and never overwhelming.”
4.5 stars Reviews by Judith
Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran started as a live theatre performance in 2019. Once the pandemic hit, the Javaad Alipoor Company innovatively reworked the show into a digital presentation. Originally designed for people in lockdown – it is now a unique theatrical experience where the audience alternates between an engaging cinematic presentation on the big screen, and one-on-one interactions in the palm of their hands on smart phone.
Javaad Alipoor and Peyvand Sadeghian are the storytellers. They host and guide the audience on a deep-dive around the internet.
The story starts by exploring the lives of the children of the elite class in Iran. These young adults live excessive and extravagant lifestyles, which is completely at odds with the oppressive policies of the Iranian regime – and amazingly, they plaster it all over social media! There are drug-fuelled parties, fast cars, hyper-consumerism, all playing out on their Instagram feeds.
Scrolling through an Instagram feed is like watching the world in reverse. You start at the present and move back in time.
The first major event we see as an audience is a big car crash. An incredibly expensive Porsche tangled in the street rails of an upper-class neighbourhood in Tehran. The son of one of Iran’s most influential elite has died, as has his girlfiend.
Alipoor and Sadeghian then follow the story backwards in time, uncovering the events that led to this fateful event, and in doing so, reveal to us insight into the Islamic revolution, global imperialism and even touching on the inevitable entropy of the universe.
All of this is woven together with an ever-expanding multi-media design that begins feeling something like a zoom call, and finishes with immersive visual effects, music and sound design.
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Performers – Javaad Alipoor and Peyvand Sadeghian
Video Designers – Thom Buttery and Tom Newell for Limbic Cinema
Sound Designer – Simon McCorry
Lighting Designer – Jess Bernberg
Production Management – Dom Baker for The Production Family
ADDITIONAL CREATE TEAM MEMBERS ON THE ORIGINAL PRODUCTION
Designer – Lucy Osbourne
Creative Collaborator – Yael Shavit
Dramaturg – Chris Thorpe
Assistant Director – Kayleigh Hawkins
Intern – Isabel Olson
RIVERISDE’S NATIONAL THEATRE OF PARRAMATTA
Executive Producer – Joanne Kee
Acting Associate Producer – Daniel Cottier
Company Coordinator – Sarah Mott
Project Officer – Leigh Russell
If you are interested in touring get in contact!
Arts on Tour
02 8038 1880
Arts on Tour is based in Redfern NSW and we respectfully acknowledge the Gadigal people as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the unceded land on which we work.
As we tour artists and productions across these vast lands, we pay our respect to all First Nations Elders, past, present and future.
We celebrate their continuing connection and contribution to culture, country and community, and thank all First Nations peoples for their wisdom in caring for the land, the sky, the rivers and the sea.