Off Broadway Review: ‘The Invisible Hand’ by Ayad Akhtar

December 9, 2014 3:02 AM

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Off Broadway Review: ‘The Invisible Hand’ by Ayad Akhtar

Somebody give this playwright a Pulitzer. Oh, right — Ayad Akhtar already has one, for a previous play, “Disgraced,” which is currently running on Broadway. Although this new one continues the scribe’s interest in the clashing ideologies of Americans and Muslims, “The Invisible Hand” is far more politically provocative, opening as it does in a Pakistani prison where an American banker is being held for ransom. Confounding initial indications, the play is not a captive narrative about pain and torture but a scary (and dreadfully funny) treatise on the universality of human greed.

Akhtar takes the title of his play from Adam Smith, who opined that “the invisible hand” of free market forces will function as an automatic corrective whenever the economy is out of whack. “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner,” Smith decl...

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