The Invisible Hand

By Ayad Akhtar
Directed By Allen Nause

March 10, 2015 – April 5, 2015

Morrison Stage

The 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright’s tense plot involves a kidnapped American “futures” trader in Pakistan playing the market for his life. In this riveting, shockingly relevant play, taut scenarios unfold as the trader works to earn his release while unwittingly handing the tools for financial chaos and political vindication to his captor.

  • Designs by Resident Artists Kristeen Willis Crosser & Sharath Patel 
  • Produced in association with Seattle’s ACT Theatre

RUNNING TIME: Approximately 1 hour & 40 minutes plus one intermission.
RECOMMENDATIONS: For adults and older teens. Profanity.


Connor Toms +

Nick Bright

Imran Sheikh +


William Ontiveros +

Imam Saleem

+ Member of Actors Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the U.S.

^ Artists Rep Resident Artist


Allen Nause +^


Scenic Designer: Matthew Smucker #

Costume Designer: Rose Pederson #

Lighting Designer: Kristeen Willis Crosser #

Composer/Sound Designer: Brendan Patrick Hogan

Voice & Text Director: Mary McDonald-Lewis ^

Sound Coordinator: Sharath Patel ^

Props Coordinator: Natalie Rae Heikkinen

Resident Fight Choreographer : Jonathan Cole *

Fight Coordinator: Connor Toms

Production Stage Manager: Carol Ann Wohlmut +^

Production Assistant: Will Bailey

2nd Production Assistant: Jessica Evans Irvine

Board Op: Jason Coffey

+ Member of Actors Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the U.S.

* Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society

# The scenic, costume, lighting, projection & sound designers are represented by United Scenic Artists

^ Artists Rep Resident Artist


 "...a nice, sharp hostage thriller on the surface, but then it veers into the territory of political economics and deepens into something deliciously different," writes Barry Johnson of ArtsWatch in his review here.

"engrossing tale of global money, clashing cultures...enjoyable, funny, informative, and disconcerting experience..." - Estevan Munoz,

 “…tight, compact, suspenseful work…” - Thomas Ross, Portland Mercury 

“'The Invisible Hand' Packs a Punch ... Nothing is black or white, and it’s in the shades of grey that Akhtar’s play has its greatest power…” - Fiona McCann, Portland Monthly 

“…well-conceived, well-crafted production of an emotionally stirring and intellectually provocative play.” - Richard Wattenberg, The Oregonian/

“…deep ideas and words, the play has a pounding rhythm…” Dennis Sparks, Dennis Sparks Reviews

Reactions from our audience:

  • “It’s magnificent! The actors are brilliant.”
  • “It makes you feel like you are there.”
  • “Very provocative – I must see it again.”
  • “It was fascinating. It felt so relevant and contemporary.”

"Akhtar's script has the moral intelligence of a great play but the jittery energy of a Hollywood blockbuster—a hybrid of terrorist-kidnapping cliff-hanger and Wall Street noir—but the action is all contained in his pugilistic dialogue and the dynamo performances. " wrote The Stranger of the Seattle production. Read the review here.


Ayad Akhtar's The Invisible Hand had its world premiereat The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis in March 2012 as the first work in the "Ignite! New Play Festival” series.It was critically well-received and featured Ahmed Hassan as Dar, John Hickok as Nick, Bhavesh Patel as Bashir, Michael James Reed as James and the Guard, with Seth Gordon directing. The play’s metaphoric title is taken from famed economist Adam Smith’s writings, describing the self-regulating nature of the marketplace.The ‘invisible hand’ refers to Smith’s claim that by trying to maximize their own gains in a free market, individual ambition benefits society, even if the ambitious have no benevolent intentions. At the end of 2014, The Invisible Hand was produced Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop to great critical reviews.  

This production is in association with Seattle’s ACT Theatre and follows their production of the play last September with much of the same design team, but includes two new cast members. ACT’s production was named “Best Play” in the Broadway World 2014 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards.


Akhtar’s plays include Disgraced (LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater, 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and 2013 Obie Award for Extraordinary Achievement), The Who & The What (LCT3/Lincoln Canter Theater and La Jolla Playhouse), and The Invisible Hand (The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis). Also a novelist, Akhtar is the author of American Dervish, published in 2012 by Little, Brown and Company, published in 20 languages worldwide. He co-wrote and starred in The War Within (Magnolia Pictures), which was released internationally and nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay. As an actor, Akhtar also starred as Neel Kashkari in HBO’s adaptation of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book Too Big to Fail. He studied at Brown University and Colombia University’s School of Arts.


Allen Nause served as Artists Rep's Artistic Director from 1988 until 2013 and has directed many of its most popular productions including Killer Joe, Bug, Circle Mirror Transformation, Superior Donuts, The Crucible, Seafarer, The Clean House and Three Days Of Rain. He directed Our Town with Mahesh Dattani in Bangalore, India and led two international tours to Africa and the Near and Middle East, representing American regional theatre for U.S.I.A. Arts America. In 2000, Nause traveled to Vietnam and co-directed a bilingual, bicultural production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a Vietnamese production of A Glass Menagerie as part of the Vietnam/America Theatre Exchange. In May 2007, he directed All My Sons with the Palestinian National Theatre in Jerusalem. In 2010, Nause directed The Odd Couple in Islamabad, Pakistan. As an actor, he has performed in numerous plays at Artists Rep including Frankie and Johnny in the Claire De Lune, Breaking The Code, Art, The Drawer Boy, Death Of A Salesman, Blackbird, Vanya, No Man’s Land and most recently The Big Meal. Allen will also perform later this season in J.M. Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World, which opens May 20, and direct Ayad Akhtar’s The Invisible Hand next Spring. He has appeared at many other Northwest theatres including Imago Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Empty Space, A.C.T. Seattle and Intiman Theatre. Allen is a Resident Artist at Artists Rep.



Click this link to hear yesterday's fascinating and insightful segment on "Think Out Loud" -- host Dave Miller talks about The Invisible Hand with playwright Ayad Akhtar, Director Allen Nause and actor Imran Sheikh on Oregon Public Broadcasting- OPB.


A great resource for all but beware of SPOILERS!! Download it here.


Click here to check out the production's playbill.