Celebrating cleaners and doing the dirty work - Indian Ink Theatre Company

Celebrating cleaners and doing the dirty work

By: Stephanie Ockhuysen

A play that honours the humble office cleaner is coming to New Plymouth and will utilise a local choir for part of the cast.

Dirty Work is the 11th work by co-writers and Indian Ink co-founders Jacob Rajan and Justin Lewis.

Described as a hapless middle manager, his unhelpful assistant and their chorus of office workers make a mess of things, which isn’t good news for the cleaner.

While there are only three professional actors involved, there are close to 30 on stage.

In each town they have a live local choir on stage.

The choir only know the songs they will be singing, they don’t know the script so experience the unfolding of the story at the same time as the audience.

They’ve been told to arrive dressed as office workers and that they’re cubicle-bound office workers taking direction from ‘the boss’.

“People love it and they have a lot of fun, it gives it a sense of excitement and freshness.” Lewis said.

“There’s a character who one of their jobs is to steal the aircon remote, and seeing all the different ways people choose to do it, like we’ve had people crawling across the floor.”

For the New Plymouth show, the choir will be made up of a mix of singers and members from Ars Nova Choir.

The choirs were always great sports, Lewis said.

They toured the show last year around the country and Lewis said it had been well received.

But between the laughs, Lewis said there is also a serious side to the story and makes the audience consider how we value our time, how we value each other, and find joy in the endless toil of work.

“We wanted to tell a story that honoured and gave mana to people who often aren’t recognised – the cleaners.”