×
Keep up to date with Indian Ink. Sign up to our newsletter.
Sign Me Up
Written By Jacob Rajan and Justin Lewis

Take a wild ride to paradise with Indian Ink’s powerful new play about impermanence – of life, love … and ice cream! 

This glorious production is inspired by Ernest Becker’s Pulitzer prize-winning “Denial of Death,” and the vibrant, life–filled chaos of India’s most cosmopolitan city, Mumbai.   

Jacob Rajan delivers a dazzling solo performance as he channels seven characters, weaving the afterlife and a dash of Bollywood disco into the real life mystery of India’s vanishing vultures. 

A man trying desperately to avoid death is flung between limbo and his past where a rebellious young woman holds the key that may guide him to paradise. 

Infused with serious laughterexquisite puppetry and inspired sound design this show is guaranteed to blow your mind and melt your heart. 

Don’t miss out; the preview season sold out two weeks before opening and Paradise has already been snapped up for North American touring in early 2022. 

Recommended for ages 11+

Joyous and Heartbreaking” (NZ Herald)

To say this is a must see is an understatement” (NZ Herald)

Run Time: 110 minutes (including interval)

Post-Show Question & Answer Sessions: There will be a Q&A with the creative team on opening night for most centres. Come along with your questions about the show – dates are as follows:

Nelson – 7 October
Christchurch – 16 October

You can find reviews for the show HERE

Download programme information
  • from 20 May to 05 June 2021
    Wellington - Te Auaha
    Book Now
  • from 09 June to 27 June 2021
    Auckland - Q Theatre
    Book Now
  • from 02 July to 04 July 2021
    Tauranga - Baycourt Addison Theatre
    Book Now
  • from 07 July to 11 July 2021
    Hamilton - The Meteor
    Book Now
  • from 29 July to 30 July 2021
    New Plymouth - TSB Theatre
    Book Now
  • from 05 August to 07 August 2021
    Upper Hutt - Expressions Theatre
    Book Now
  • from 12 August to 14 August 2021
    Kāpiti - Te Raukura ki Kāpiti
    Book Now
  • from 07 October to 09 October 2021
    Nelson - Theatre Royal Nelson
    Book Now
  • one night only 13 October 2021
    Dunedin - The Regent
    Book Now
  • from 16 October to 17 October 2021
    Christchurch - Isaac Theatre Royal
    Book Now
×

Private Show Information

What do you get?

The Company brings lighting, set, costumes, and props to your selected venue (e.g. home or office) to create a truly magical occasion for your invited audience. There is no limit to the number of guests you can invite - as long as there's enough space for them and the performers. The Artists are Arts Laureate Jacob Rajan and talented young musician Adam Ogle, supported by our stage manager who will ensure that all technical and production elements happen without a hiccup. The performance lasts 80 minutes and as an added bonus, if you wish it, Jacob is happy to chat with your guests after the show.

What does it cost?

The all-inclusive fee for this wonderul and unforgettable experience is only NZ$6,500 including GST.

Cast & Crew

Jacob Rajan

Writer & Performer

×

Jacob Rajan

Company Director, Writer & Performer

Jacob is an Arts Foundation Laureate and founding partner of Indian Ink. He collaborated to create Krishnan’s Dairy, The Candlestickmaker, The Pickle King, The Dentist’s Chair, The Guru of Chai and Kiss the Fish and has performed them throughout New Zealand and internationally.

Jacob won “Best Actor” in the 2010 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for ‘The Guru of Chai’. He has also received an accolade for acting excellence and was nominated for the Stage Award for Best Actor at the   Edinburgh Fringe. Jacob has featured on New Zealand TV series (Outrageous Fortune and Shortland Street). In 2013 Jacob was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the New Year’s Honours List.

Jacob’s family originates in Kerala, Southern India. He was born in Malaysia and immigrated to New Zealand at the age of four. Jacob has a degree in microbiology, a teacher’s diploma and is a graduate of Toi Whakaari – The New Zealand Drama School.

Jon Coddington

Puppeteer

×

Jon Coddington

Jon Coddington promotes himself as a theatre designer and collaborator, illustrator, animator and sculptor, and has been primarily working as a puppeteer and puppet maker for 8 years. Highlights include sell-out Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin, Adelaide, Perth, and Edinburgh Fringe Festival hit Puppet Fiction (2012-18), a marionette homage to the movie Pulp Fiction, and the manipulation and making of marionettes and puppets for Fat Freddy’s Drop’s music videos ‘Clean The House’ and ‘Special Edition’. Recently he has worked in screen puppetry with training by Muppeteer Peter Linz at Whoa Studios in Auckland, created puppets for the New Zealand Arts Festival show ‘The Devil’s Half Acre’, NZ Comedy Festival show ‘Hand To God’, and recently created puppets and performed in Silo theatre’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’.

Adam Ogle

Musician

×

Adam Ogle

Musician

Adam Ogle is a guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and composer. He has worked with Whangarei-based theatre company Company of Giants on The Owl and the Pussycat and the Whangarei Festival of Light and Art, Auckland Theatre Company on Giant Teeth, in the Young and Hungry Festival on Uncle Minotaur and with Smoke Labours Productions on Stutterpop. He has also taught guitar and mandolin at the Whangarei Celtic Summer School ‘Gaidhealtachd’ and taught and performed at the Auckland Folk Festival. He received the ‘Frank Winter Memorial Award’ awarded for his outstanding contribution as a young instrumentalist.

David Ward

Musician (AUK & WEL)

×

David Ward

Musician, Compser and Musical Director

A Jazz Graduate from the Wellington Conservatorium of Music, David has twice won “Most Outstanding Composer” at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for his work on Guru of Chai and Kiss The Fish.

D. Andrew Potvin

Production & Tour Manager

×

D. Andrew Potvin

Andrew is the Director of Andrew Potvin Designs Ltd, specialising in tour and production management, ticketing and lighting design. He has a live events portfolio spanning eighteen years across the globe, from his native United State of America to his adopted homeland of New Zealand. He is thrilled to be in his 6th year collaborating with Indian Ink Theatre Company.

Andrew’s New Zealand career began in Auckland as Technical Manager of the Basement Theatre. He has since gone on to work with companies such as iTICKET, PANNZ (Performing Arts Network of New Zealand/Tour-Makers) Q Theatre, Amici Productions and Auckland Theatre Company.

With Tour-Makers (Producer – Technical & Logistics) he has co-produced national tours of That Bloody WomanThe White Guitar, Anzac Eve, As Night Falls, Triumphs and Other Alternatives, The Book of Everything, Modern Maori QuartetDaffodils, Live Live Cinema’s Little Shop of Horrors and The Mooncake and the Kumara. With Indian Ink Theatre Company he has tour managed productions of The Pickle King, Mrs Krishnan’s Party and Paradise or the Impermanence of Ice Cream.

Andrew is a member of Entertainment Venues Association of New Zealand, Entertainment Technology New Zealand and Musical Theatre New Zealand.

Justin Lewis

Writer & Director

×

Justin Lewis

Company Director, Writer & Artistic Director

Justin is a founding partner of Indian Ink and collaborated with Jacob Rajan to create the company’s works: Krishnan’s Dairy, The Candlestickmaker, The Pickle King, The Dentist’s Chair, Guru of Chai and Kiss the Fish.  Indian Ink’s productions have won numerous awards including two Edinburgh Fringe First Awards and Three production of the Year Awards in New Zealand. Justin has produced numerous national and international tours.  He is Deputy Chair of Q Theatre and has been heavily involved in its development from the beginning. In 2008 he received a Kaupapa Oranga Award for his services to theatre. Justin is a graduate of the John Bolton Theatre School and University of Auckland.

Murray Edmond

Dramaturge

×

Murray Edmond

Dramaturg

Murray has been dramaturg on all of Indian Ink’s productions. A poet and founder of Town and Country players (NZ), Murray has recently retired from his role as Professor of Drama at Auckland University where he headed the Drama course.

John Verryt

Set Design/Projected Imagery Artist

×

John Verryt

Set & Costume Design

John has worked on all of Indian Ink’s productions to date. With over 30 years experience he is one of New Zealand’s leading performance designers with an extensive portfolio of work including designs for NBR New Zealand Opera, Black Grace Dance Company, Douglas Wright and Auckland Theatre Company.

Elizabeth Whiting

Costume Design

×

Elizabeth Whiting

COSTUME DESIGNER 2018

Background
Elizabeth has designed costumes for New Zealand Opera, Auckland Theatre Company, NZ Festival and Auckland Festival, Silo, Court Theatre, Red Leap and Okareka Dance, Black Grace, Douglas Wright Dance, Michael Parmenter, Atimira, NZ Dance Company and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. She designed costumes for Pop-Up Theatre London for Edinburgh Festival.

Elizabeth has designed the costumes for The World of Wearable Art core show in Wellington for the last six years.

Awards
In 2010 she won the Chapman Tripp Costume Design Award for The Arrival. (Red Leap). She represented New Zealand at the Prague Design Quadrennial in 2003 with her costumes for ‘Falstaff’, and again in 2007 with a team of designers who created the exhibition Blow. Her designs for Marriage of Figaro have just been seen in Seattle and her costume designs for Tosca in Perth had a great reception.
Elizabeth designed Bonefeeder (Auckland Festival), Uncle Vanya (Court Theatre), Kororareka (Red Leap), Spirit House (Nightsong Productions), Kiss the Sky (NZDC) and Nell Gwynn (ATC) in 2017. She also designed Blonde Poison (Plumb Productions) and Orchids (Foster Group).
Hudson and Halls Live, The Mooncake and the Kumara, and Te Po are three shows which were successfully remounted last year using her costume designs.

Elizabeth has designed Under the Mountain (ATC) this year and is in the process of designing The Cherry Orchard (ATC) and La Boheme (NZ Opera)

David Ward

Composer/Sound Design

×

David Ward

Musician, Compser and Musical Director

A Jazz Graduate from the Wellington Conservatorium of Music, David has twice won “Most Outstanding Composer” at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for his work on Guru of Chai and Kiss The Fish.

Jon Coddington

Puppet Design/Build/Puppeteer

×

Jon Coddington

Jon Coddington promotes himself as a theatre designer and collaborator, illustrator, animator and sculptor, and has been primarily working as a puppeteer and puppet maker for 8 years. Highlights include sell-out Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin, Adelaide, Perth, and Edinburgh Fringe Festival hit Puppet Fiction (2012-18), a marionette homage to the movie Pulp Fiction, and the manipulation and making of marionettes and puppets for Fat Freddy’s Drop’s music videos ‘Clean The House’ and ‘Special Edition’. Recently he has worked in screen puppetry with training by Muppeteer Peter Linz at Whoa Studios in Auckland, created puppets for the New Zealand Arts Festival show ‘The Devil’s Half Acre’, NZ Comedy Festival show ‘Hand To God’, and recently created puppets and performed in Silo theatre’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’.

D. Andrew Potvin

Lighting Design

×

D. Andrew Potvin

Andrew is the Director of Andrew Potvin Designs Ltd, specialising in tour and production management, ticketing and lighting design. He has a live events portfolio spanning eighteen years across the globe, from his native United State of America to his adopted homeland of New Zealand. He is thrilled to be in his 6th year collaborating with Indian Ink Theatre Company.

Andrew’s New Zealand career began in Auckland as Technical Manager of the Basement Theatre. He has since gone on to work with companies such as iTICKET, PANNZ (Performing Arts Network of New Zealand/Tour-Makers) Q Theatre, Amici Productions and Auckland Theatre Company.

With Tour-Makers (Producer – Technical & Logistics) he has co-produced national tours of That Bloody WomanThe White Guitar, Anzac Eve, As Night Falls, Triumphs and Other Alternatives, The Book of Everything, Modern Maori QuartetDaffodils, Live Live Cinema’s Little Shop of Horrors and The Mooncake and the Kumara. With Indian Ink Theatre Company he has tour managed productions of The Pickle King, Mrs Krishnan’s Party and Paradise or the Impermanence of Ice Cream.

Andrew is a member of Entertainment Venues Association of New Zealand, Entertainment Technology New Zealand and Musical Theatre New Zealand.

Bala Murali Shingade

Projected Imagery Photographer/Editor

×

Bala Murali Shingade

Inkspiration

  • A note from Justin
  • A note from Jake
  • A note from Jon
  • A note from David
  • A note from Murray
  • A note from Andrew

This show was inspired by Ernest Becker’s Pulitzer Prize
winning “Denial of Death”, but it really found its form
when Jacob and I were in Mumbai in 2019. There we
discovered a city full of life, rich with diverse cultures and
we learned of the plight of India’s vultures. It’s strange
now to think that we don’t know when we’ll next be able
to travel anywhere!

My view of vultures was formed by my western culture.
I dismissed them as harbingers of death, brutishly ugly
and to be feared. What I discovered was a creature
whose most repulsive features are entirely functional,
that does mankind an incredible service by cleansing
the environment and in flight is one of the most
magnificent birds on earth.

Becker argues that culture is designed to protect us from
the reality of our mortality and in the Tibetan Buddhist
tradition there’s a practice of meditating each day on
your death. Strange ideas, but maybe by contemplating
our mortality we can appreciate life more fully. Like the
vulture, there is beauty to be found in the things we fear.
Nobody noticed the disappearance of India’s vultures
until it was too late. It’s the fastest extinction of all time
and I feel great sorrow at the loss of these wonderful
birds. But I find hope in the way people from around
the world are working to save them. Humans achieve
incredible things through co-operation. That’s one of the
reasons I love theatre – it’s a collaborative art form.

So, as we gather together in the theatre tonight, I am
enormously grateful. In the words of Joni Mitchell “don’t
it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve
got ‘til it’s gone.”

It’s funny to think that we started this company based on a
love of mask. It was such a niche thing back then. Who’d
have thought that masks would become so popular?

In those early years I suffered from such an imposter
syndrome that I would often use the programme notes to
apologise in advance for causing offence. As a playwright
I’m necessarily led by my curiosity. I’m curious about things
I don’t know about and then I research them and write
about them as if I do. Which, of course, I don’t. Not really.

My apology on this occasion is to the Parsi community.
If you haven’t heard of them, you’re not alone but I can
almost guarantee that you’ve been influenced by at least
one. Parsis have made an enormous contribution to India
and the world. In politics, industry, medicine, finance,
science, music, art and theatre this ethnic group has
been extraordinarily influential out of all proportion to
their numbers.

The eclectic bunch of Parsis portrayed in this play are
entirely fictional and I hope cause no offense to a people
I hold in extremely high regard.

If you’re reading this and happen to be Parsi I cling to one
generalisation about your kin I dearly wish to be true: they
have a great sense of humour.

When I was approached by Justin and John about
creating a vulture puppet I was immediately daunted
by the project, but challenges pique my interests so I
knew that this would be something I’d enjoy taking on.

Making puppets on a large scale is difficult enough,
and to build a large bird was something I hadn’t
approached before. In my work I study anatomies
and try to imitate organic qualities of movement
mechanically, and in this regard birds are a mechanical
masterpiece. One of the main challenges I faced was
the fine balance of motion and aesthetic, as weight was
really a defining issue with my performance and any
features may add complications to the functionality.

Through much trial and error, creative discussions
and happy accidents, Gerry was born using plywood,
cane, muslin, resin and late nights. The rehearsal
process was really insightful, as Gerry is playing a few
characters too. Discovering moments of comedy, threat
or softness was incredible, and figuring out how Gerry
could anthropomorphise those human emotions really
interested me. I set out to discover the beauty in this
beast, and hopefully shed some light on the terrible
plight facing these creatures.

I am very pleased to be working on this new play,
my sixth Indian Ink collaboration as composer
and eighth show in total. Each new Indian
Ink production presents new challenges, new
instrumentation, new techniques and technology, and
Paradise has been no different! Significant this time
around has been the move away from live musical
instruments, towards a much more atmospheric sound
design. The lack of physical props and minimal set,
means that sound effects play a huge role in defining
the sense of place and atmosphere. This has meant
delving into hundreds of sound effects and many, hours
editing and mixing them to create the sound world.
I’ve designed the show to have speakers surrounding
the audience, so that sound can come from all
directions, both to immerse people in the world and
at times play with their perceptions. This show also
contains the most instrument layering of any Indian Ink
show, particularly in the fun Club Sutra Disco scene.

Despite not seeing me on stage as one usually would
in an Indian ink show, I assure you that everything you
hear has been created by me, and I am performing it
from behind the audience. All music has been created
on my computer, both for the bigger recorded musical
pieces as well as for the live thematic music. For at
least these early seasons I will maintain the liveness of
the experience by triggering all sound effects live to
sync with Jacob’s performance. Similarly, the thematic
music is allowed to breathe with the actor and the lights
by performing sampled virtual instruments on a piano
keyboard. As a musician more used to having my
fingers on some strings rather than a computer mouse,
this has meant a big learning curve to make the
technology malleable enough to feel and respond,
despite the slight distance one inevitably feels without
a banjo in one’s hands! I look forward to seeing things
grow as they always do once a show find itself in front of
a real live audience! I hope you enjoy!

My role as Dramaturge is to question, to critique, and
even to make suggestions, during the two years the script
is being written. Draft after draft. Response after response.
Each time, a discovery – each time, a problem!

Dramaturging for Paradise meant playing Virgil to two
Dantes, as we discovered Kutisar’s inferno. We knew
Kutisar (from The Guru of Chai), but not his avian
guide-spirit. Writing a play, you imagine a world in a
crisis situation – and you work out the consequences
of that crisis.

A man and a bird, a place full of memories – mystery
and urgency! Then the place filled with sounds. We
first hear sound when we are in the womb. Is the last
sense working before we die our hearing? The play’s
soundscape became a living character, evoking
Kutisar’s past, evoking Bombay/Mumbai, bringing us
the wingbeat of the Vulture.
In plays, characters change: the ugly duckling
becomes the beautiful swan. They don’t just change
in the plot; they also change in the audience’s minds.
At the beginning we may be sure what we think; as the
play plays out we grow puzzled; then we think again. At
the end, we have made a discovery.

Indian Ink Theatre Company have incredible talent
on and off the stage who are amongst my favourite to
collaborate with. I’m so incredibly grateful for the
opportunity and support Justin, Jacob, Jude and the
team have given me. Designing the original Paradise
and the development process to where it is today, has
been a creatively positive experience. I look forward
to bringing another fabulous Indian Ink show to the
audiences of New Zealand and beyond.

Having many friends and family in the theatrical industry
overseas, I have been constantly reminded how lucky
we are to be able to present live work to audiences.
For all the sacrifices we have made to control COVID
outbreaks in New Zealand, I thank you. It hasn’t been
easy, but being able to bring shows like this too life and
share them with you has been completely worth it.

Read More
×

Thank you for giving to Indian Ink.

Please complete the form and we will send details of how to make your payment. Once payment has been processed we will send you a tax reciept.

Your Details

Gift Details

I would like to give:



I would like my gift to be:


Contact Method

Preferred method contact:


View our privacy policy