Category Archive for: ‘Flora Lynn Isaacson’

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The Invisible Hand at Marin Theatre Company is Full of Twists and Turns

As of June 2, Marin Theatre is currently presenting The Invisible Hand by Ayad Akhtar.  Director Jasson Minadakis and MTC have a consecutive winner following their production of Anne Boleyn.  In The Invisible Hand, the subject is terrorism and its effects on a single individual, as well as a nation.   MTC_IH_Marker_Kapoor_Koch_LoRes

American banker Nick Bright (Craig Marker) finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time when an Islamic militant group kidnaps him in Pakistan.  When the United States won’t negotiate his release, Nick offers to raise the $10million ransom on his own by teaching his quick-tempered captor Bashir (Pomme Koch) how to play the stock market – but the teacher turns student when Nick quickly learns he must decide whether the price of freedom is something he’s willing to pay.

The title of Akhtar’s play shows writ large when Nick speaks of the invisible hand of free-market forces that function as an automatic corrective whenever the economy is out of whack.

MTC_IH_Marker_Koch_A_LoResThat religious belief in the profit motive is something to keep in mind in the first act in this highly-charged drama, which takes place in a bleak cell somewhere in Pakistan where American banker (earnestly and ultimately endearingly) played by Craig Marker is now in his third week of captivity.  Under the circumstances, Marker is amazingly self-possessed.

The tension builds in the first act when Bashir (the totally commanding Pomme Koch) and Nick’s heavily-armed and thoroughly imposing captor, steps in to harangue his prisoner for the failure of Citi Bank to cough up his exorbitant $10million ransom. The fact that the intended target was Nick’s boss cuts no ice with Bashir or the frightening Imam Saleem, played by the charismatic (Barzin Akhavan).

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Finally, the profit motive kicks in, and not a moment too soon. Jasson Minadakis has directed this play with the building tension of a full-blown political thriller, but before you know it, Nick and Bashir have buddied up and are busy playing for big stakes at a thrilling game.  Even Dar the gentle jailer (sweetly played by Jason Kapoor) gets excited at the prospect of making a few dollars.

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The conclusion is abrupt when Nick becomes a free man again.

Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Kat Conley has designed a chilling prison set, and York Kennedy provides the punishing lighting with nice assistance from Chris Houston’s sound design, which helps create a claustrophobic environment. Callie Floor’s costumes are appropriately subdued.  The Dialect Coach, Lynne Soffer, did a wonderful job with this talented cast.

The Invisible Hand as directed by Jasson Minadakis is first-class theatre,  and the run has been extended through July 3.
Performances: Tuesdays through Sundays: 7:30pm
Remaining Matinees:    Sundays: June 19, 26, and July 3  2:00pm,  Saturdays: June 25 and July 2, 2:00pm

For tickets, contact Marin Theatre Company at 415-388-5208, or purchase online at www.marintheatre.org

This is end of the MTC 49th Season, and the 50th Season is opening on September 8, 2016, with August: Osage County by Tracy Letts, running through October 2nd, 2016, and directed by Jasson Minadakis.

Flora Lynn Isaacson

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