Join us for UrbanArias’
latest commission in a staged reading:
Music by Peter Hilliard
Libretto by Matt Boresi
Starring Keith Phares
Conducted by Robert Wood
Directed by Dennis Whitehead Darling
Featuring members of Inscape Chamber Orchestra
May 4, 2023 at 8:00 PM
at The Keegan Theatre in DuPont Circle
$25 General Admission
UrbanArias’ commission of Inbox Zero is supported by a generous donation from Ed and Andy Smith.
Keith Phares’ appearance is underwritten by a generous donation from the Savada-Stevenson Family.
Inbox Zero is the story of Jackie, a man who wants more money for his family and who believes he has a deep understanding of human behavior – and who isn’t afraid to use the latter to help with the former. Jackie sells corporate personality tests of dubious merit and struggles to support the growing costs of raising a child. When he receives an e-mail promising him fabulous wealth if he helps a deposed foreign official move funds out from overseas, his desire for monetary gain supersedes his understanding of human nature and he allows himself to fall for an Advance-Fee Scam. Soon Jackie is laundering obviously bad checks and convincing himself he isn’t a criminal. When the scammers require more and more of Jackie’s own money, Jackie begins reaching for the vacation fund, the college fund, the retirement fund. Deep in a hole of lies, misdeeds, self-delusion, and on the precipice of self-destruction, Jackie ultimately decides to come clean, with a new understanding of how the pursuit of fortune makes fools of us all, and how the hustler can become the hustled.
Inbox Zero – the title refers to the corporate technique of keeping your inbox empty – speaks to the pressures placed on the individual by late capitalism and the global economy in the 21st century, when everybody has a “hustle”.
This piece is the latest in Hilliard and Boresi’s multi-project exploration of the degrading effects of commerce and class upon survival and fulfillment (Blue Viola and The Last American Hammer – both UrbanArias commissions – being previous parts of this investigation).
This presentation is in workshop, focusing on the words and music rather than a full production. As always, we will have a talkback after the performance, and we are eager to hear your thoughts!