ALLADEEN (2003-2005)

The Builders Association and motiroti

ALLADEEN is a large-scale cross-media performance created by The Builders Association and the London-based company motiroti. ALLADEEN draws on the lives of citizens living in the hybrid, global cities of New York, London, and Bangalore—each a city where many cultures collide. Aladdin’s story is a perfect vehicle for this “collision,” since it has travelled from Asia to India to England to Disney, and each has stolen and reinterpreted it from the last.

ALLADEEN highlights the philosophical issues of media and technology as they impact global culture, and bridge the first world with the third world. Specifically, the piece looks at the contemporary phenomenon of international call centers where Indian operators are trained to flawlessly “pass” as Americans. During intensive research in Bangalore, India, the artists interviewed operators, trainers, and owners of the call centers—material which became an integral element in ALLADEEN. The performance explores how we function as “global souls” caught up in circuits of technology, and how our voices and images travel from one culture to another.

Since 1996, The Builders Association and motiroti have been engaged in an ongoing exchange concerning their creative work, particularly their very different but confluent relationships to spectacle. Both companies share an attraction to the idioms of popular culture that figure strongly in ALLADEEN.

The ALLADEEN project also takes other manifestations in addition to the performance: a music video, directed by Keith Khan and featuring music by Shri, and a Web project—directed by Ali Zaidi. These strands, developed conceptually by Keith Khan, Ali Zaidi and Marianne Weems, are separate but interdependent, and material from each is interwoven into the others.

ALLADEEN received an Obie award for “Outstanding Production” in 2003-2004.

Contributing Artists

Directed by Marianne Weems
Conceived by Keith Khan, Marianne Weems and Ali Zaidi

Performed by:
Rizwan Mirza
David Pence
Heaven Phillips
Tanya Selvaratnam
Jasmine Simhalan
Jeff Webster

Keith Khan, Design
Ali Zaidi, Design
Christopher Kondek, Video Design
Dan Dobson, Sound Design and Original Music Composition
Jennifer Tipton, Lighting
Martha Baer, Text, additional material created by the company
Norman Frisch, Dramaturg
Neal Wilkinson, Production Manager
Joseph Silovsky, Technical Director
Allen Hahn, Associate Lighting Designer
Peter Flaherty, Video Systems Design
Jeff Morey, Video Associate
James Gibbs/dbox, 3D Animation Design
Eric Schuldenfrei, 3D Animation Design

Website (
Directed by Ali Zaidi
Conceived by Keith Khan, Marianne Weems, and Ali Zaidi

Music Video:
Directed and produced by Ali Zaidi
Additional Video by Peter Norrman
Sound/Music by Dan Dobson
Original Music (Cyber Immigrants – Bangalore, India film) by Shrikanth Sriram (Shri)

The following artists have all contributed to the development of ALLADEEN:
Edith Blackman (lighting intern)
Liz Tyler Brody (lighting intern)
Alison Brummer (assistant lighting designer)
Billy Burns (rigger)
Monique Curnen (performer)
Lear deBessonet (assistant director)
James Deanes (costume supervisor)
Heather Delaney (production assistant)
Natalia de Campos (Stage Manager)
Eleanor Dubinsky (sound assistant)
Alec Duffy (second assistant director)
Patrick Dugan (electrician)
Kelly Hannon (lighting intern)
Pico Iyer (additional text)
Navtej Johar (performer)
Kimon Keramidas (production assistant)
Anna Kiraly (stage manager)
Jody Kuh (touring production manager)
Rob Laakso (sound associate)
Stewart Laing (observer)
Mireya Lucio (production assistant)
Josh Marsden (additional text)
Jason Marin (electrician)
Aaron Mason (assistant to lighting designer)
Rie Ono (lighting assistant)
Heaven Phillips (Performer)
Eva Pinney (electrician)
Meredith Salvago (assistant stage manager)
Andrew Schneider (production assistant)
Nick Schwartz-Hall (production manager)
Alyssa Sheldon (production assistant)
Kate Stannard (production assistant)

In Bangalore:
Ali Zaidi & Peter Norrman (Video)
Jyoti Makhija (Research & Production)
Mike Isaac & Frame of Mind (Technical Production, Hire & Crew)

Call center personnel:
Supervisors: S. Nagarajan, Prakash Gurbaxani, Samita Nag Ghosh, Romola Nath, Manoj
Pachisia, Ravindra Ranganthan (Ravi)
Trainers: Sharu Jose, Sunayna Murthy, Sonal Bhimani, John Howard, Shermeen Shuaib
Operators/EROs: Ateef Abdullah, Aarti Angelo, Riaz Basha, Maggie Bernerdette, Anshuman Deb, Manoj M. Desouza, Rebekkah Shonali Edward, Dexter Fernandes, Meher Hussain, Jimmy Joseph, Vivek Leonard, Sanila Menon, MK Raghavendra, Rohit Raghav, Natasha Sabharwal, Alex Sangma, Samson S.S., Rohit Thimmiah, Preeti Thomas, Karthik Venkatraman, Mathew Vergis

Invaluable assistance in India:
Dr. Rathi Jafer (Manager, Arts, Culture & English Studies, British Council, India), Dr. B.K. Chandrashekar (Former Minister for I.T., Government of Karnataka, India), Nasreen Munni Kabir (Film Consultant), National Film Archive of India

Special thanks to the following for their wisdom and assistance:
Alison Bean, Maggie Bernerdette, Karla Barnacle Best, Paula Brown, Ann Carlson, Jessica Chalmers, Sally Cowling, Nadia Derrar, Dexter Fernandes, Sarah Frankland, Sarah Hickson, Greg Hilty, John Howard, Pico Iyer, John Kieffer, Vivek Leonard, Dean Moss, Renata Petroni, Kate Schelter, Mary Ellen Strom, Sue Timothy, Noreen Tomassi, Jessica Wanamaker, Philippa Wehle, and Anthony Willsea

Special thanks for CD artwork in Virgin animation sequence:
Mark Jones, Wall of Sound, Jim Merlis, Scott Rodger, Bjork, Blak Twang, Royksopp, The Strokes


  • Co-Producers:
    • Arts International
    • Barbican BITE:03
    • Le Maillon, Strasburg
    • Romaeuropa Festival 03
    • Melbourne International Arts Festival
  • Co-Commissioners:
    • The Wexner Center for the Arts
    • Museums of Contemporary Art, Chicago
    • The Walker Art Center
    • REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater)
    • MIST Residency Program at The Kitchen


APR 4–5
Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH

APR 10–13
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL

APR 24–27
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

JUN 7–8
Singapore Arts Festival

JUL 22–26
Barbican BITE:03, London, UK

SEP 26–28
La Ferme du Buisson, France

OCT 16–19
Romaeuropa Festival 03, Rome, Italy

OCT 23–25
Warwick Arts Center, UK

OCT 30–NOV 2
Contact Theatre, Manchester, UK

NOV 6–8
Tramway, Glasgow, UK

DEC 2–6
BAM Next Wave Festival ’03, New York


MAR 3–7
REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA

MAR 11–14
On the Boards, Seattle, WA

MAR 26–30
Bogota International Theater Festival, Colombia

APR 9–10
Hopkins Center, Dartmouth, NH

MAY 26–28
Bergen International Theater Festival, Norway

JUN 11–13
Bonn Biennale, Germany

OCT 7–10
Melbourne International Arts Festival, Australia

Belfast Festival, Northern Ireland


FEB 15–19
Highlights Festival, Usine C, Montreal, Canada

APR 29–30
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois

MAY 13–14
John F. Kennedy Center, Washington, DC