An excavation of tangled strata of history, knowledge, and the (im)possibility of theatre to communicate across unbridgeable divides, Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World is the third in Javaad Alipoor’s acclaimed trilogy of plays exploring the interplay of technology and identity. Taking as its starting point the death of Fereydoun Farroukhzad, a celebrated Iranian singer whose murder in 1992 remains unsolved, Alipoor melds true crime podcasting, digital projection, and personal narrative to investigate not Farroukhzad’s death, but what the gaps around it can articulate about cultural entanglements of knowledge and power.
Against a backdrop of postcolonial silence and digital noise, Alipoor illuminates the shadows caught in our social and political margins – the people we don’t notice, or don’t pay attention to, and the systems of power that fool us into thinking we do. Characters in the play exist in digital spheres until they are suddenly brought on stage; but the stage, Alipoor reminds us, is also a liminal space, where the world is not experienced but mediated from a distance. What unfolds is an extraordinary and penetrating inquiry into complex layers of failure: the limits of artistic and linguistic representation; the gouging gaps of ongoing colonial processes; the twisted delusion of the internet as a form of perfect knowledge production. “We think every gap in knowledge can be filled,” Alipoor says. But there are, we discover, some gaps – unexplained days, entire existences – that continue to gape and yawn.