The transformative tale of Aladdin and his magic lamp provides the springboard for Alladeen, a cross-media collaboration between the New York-based ensemble The Builders Association and the London-based motiroti. Marianne Weems directs.
Alladeen merges Bollywood and Hollywood flicks with cutting-edge video, live performance, and Indian-infused trip-hop and drum-and-bass rhythms as it careens between the ancient legend of Aladdin and identity-blurring phenomena found in the teeming metropolises of New York, London, and Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India.
Aladdin's fantasy of personal transformation is played out in the surreal world of international "call centers," in essence telemarketing boot camps where Indian operators learn how to "pass" as Americans, absorbing not only the flattest of accents but a host of arcana ranging from football's enigmatic lexicon to the plotlines of sitcoms. Alladeen traces a technological Silk Road, mixing both global and local in a shifting map of cultural identity.