NZ Gets Pickled with 20 Years of Indian Ink

Kiwis have patronized and praised the now-legendary play Krishnan’s Dairy. And now Indian Ink Theatre Company has chosen to share the highly acclaimed The Pickle King with audiences across New Zealand, in this, their 20th anniversary year.

From 4 May – 9 September, ten centres throughout Aotearoa will experience the artistry and magic of an Indian Ink show as the relationships at the Empire Hotel are brought to life on stage. Touring to Napier, Gisborne, Whangarei, Hamilton, Tauranga, Christchurch, Dunedin, Nelson, Auckland and Wellington, this will be Indian Ink’s largest tour yet!

Once the finest hotel in town, the Empire is now as faded as the dreams of the piano player who haunts the lobby. Ammachy runs the Empire with an iron fist and has one big problem; her niece is blind and she will not be married. Sasha knows she must not marry because she is cursed – everything she loves dies. Jojo is a heart surgeon. However, as a recent arrival from India the only work she can find is as a night porter in the Empire.

Delving into love, death and what is worth preserving, The Pickle King, has been updated to reflect modern times with star of The Elephant Thief, Vanessa Kumar(Boys Will Be Boys, Peter Pan), stepping into the role of Jojo, and bright new talent Kalyani Nagarajan (The Brokenwood Mysteries 3, Polo) as Sasha. Both women will play multiple characters alongside Andrew Ford (Le Sud, The Lady Killers) as George. Multi-talented pianist Ayrton Foote, supports the action on stage.

Kalyani Nagarajan (in red) and Vanessa Kumar.

Kalyani and Vanessa have come through the same course at Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School, following in the footsteps of Indian Ink co-founder Jacob Rajan, who himself was the first Indian to graduate from NZ Drama School in 1994.

Indian Ink was formed when these two were only young, and the plays have become part of NZ drama history  – being studied at Secondary and Tertiary levels – an now they are starring in the 20th anniversary tour to 10 centres throughout NZ over 5 months.

First performed in 2002, The Pickle King enchanted audiences and reviewers alike with this sublime and ridiculous, simple yet profound tale. The show received a record seven nominations in New Zealand’s theatre awards, and won the highly contested supreme award, ‘Production of the Year’.

In 2003, Indian Ink took The Pickle King to the Edinburgh Fringe, winning the ‘Fringe First Award’, and in 2007, it played another successful two-week season at DBS Arts Centre, Singapore. Published alongside Krishnan’s Dairy and The Candlestickmaker, this trilogy is now taught as part of the NZ Secondary Schools Drama curriculum and at Universities.

Three of the original production team, Justin Lewis, Director, John Verryt, Set and Costume Designer, and Jo Kilgour, Lighting Designer, will be collaborating alongside the Music Director, Ben Wilcock, to create a vibrant theatrical experience.


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