Things Hidden Since The Foundation Of The World

Natasha Ciesielski
21st Jan 2024

Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World is clever, confounding and thrilling. The ultra-modern multi-media theatre piece is fast moving, vocally and visually. Blink and you’ll miss an important piece of information.

Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World is the third-part (however created to be standalone) of Javaad Alipoor’s plays exploring the intercourse of technology and identity. Alipoor, a British-Iranian, Manchester-based writer, theatre-maker and political activist, co-wrote the show with Chris Thorpe.

The production starts with Alipoor telling the audience he’d like to share some information before the show starts. Actually, it’s the start of the metanarrative: this is the show.

There are concurrent stories and themes, the strongest being the true story of pop-icon Fereydoun Farrokhzad, sex symbol, pop singer and television host in the 1970’s, (imagine an Iranian Tom Jones - but bigger - Alipoor tells the audience). A decade later he was living in exile in Germany and in 1992, found brutally murdered in his apartment. The crime was never solved.

Utilising multimedia through live projections, and narrative, Alipoor takes the audience on a deep-dive into contemporary politics and the oppressive Iranian regime, in an attempt to solve the decades old cold case.

Asha Reid, employed as the true-crime podcast host, takes the audience into Farrokhzad’s past, exploring why he may have been murdered and who was (potentially) behind it.

Using the unsolved murder mystery and the theory ‘art is medicine’ a way we can understand each other, Alipoor attempts to ‘bridge the gap’ through a Wikipedia web-hole warning the internet shapes our knowledge.

In addition to the podcast stream, we’re introduced to Iranian-Canadian musician and podcast host Ramin Seyed-Emami (also known as King Raam), who shares a personal story of his family being victims of political violence, forced to live in exile and that he’s currently on a kill list - having been warned by the Canadian government. Emami, along with Me-Lee Hay (Australian composer and musician) perform live on stage.

Alipoor acknowledges (collectively) we go to Wikipedia or the internet to fill in knowledge gaps and provide ‘facts’ to support our narrative. Throughout the show, statements such as: “you’re becoming a better global citizen through research,” disturbingly resonate. The show challenges the audience to consider how we process the world through the lens of contemporary technology and question reality.

At times I felt like I was sitting in a university lecture with didactic diatribe from Alipoor but he is brilliant in his delivery, managing to educate, entertain and confound the audience all at the same time with story upon story, questions with no answers and theories that may be the truth.

On conclusion, audiences may leave feeling overwhelmed and perplexed, feeling sensory overload yet (likely) wanting to Google so many points. Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World  is interactive, mentally stimulating theatre and incredibly well done.

Five stars. This complex show will bewilder and awaken audiences at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House, until 21 January.

Recommended for ages 14+.

Tickets start from $59 (plus booking fee). For purchase visit》

Photo credits Wendell Teodoro