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A comedy about love, death and preserves
Written By Jacob Rajan & Justin Lewis

Rip the lid off a jar of utterly delicious theatre, bursting with wit, wonder and the faint whiff of death.

Sasha, the blind receptionist of the crumbling Empire Hotel, knows she is cursed – everything she loves dies. But when true love finds her, she can’t help falling. One night, Death checks into the hotel.

Belly laughs combine with throat-catching pathos to create a sophisticated modern fable that is “an intelligent and hilarious celebration of human resilience.” – The Scotsman

The Pickle King is Indian Ink’s most awarded play; winning an Edinburgh Fringe First, a record seven nominations at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards and the supreme accolade – Production of the Year.

For our twentieth anniversary we’ve given this much-loved comedy a contemporary twist to tickle your taste buds. This timeless tale “offers humanity and psychological insight in a package of good plain laughs, luminous performances and brilliant staging.” – Dominion Post 

The Pickle King will be touring across NZ from 4 May – 9 Sept, to celebrate our 20th Anniversary. Catch this award-winning show in:

Napier | Gisborne | Whangarei | Hamilton | Tauranga | Christchurch | Dunedin | Nelson | Auckland | Wellington

 


School Performances

Wherever possible, we schedule these as part of our national tours, offering student tickets at a special reduced price. We also provide an education pack to ensure students have a better understanding of what they are about to see, in advance of attending a performance.

2017 School Performances
  • Napier: Friday 5 May, 11am
  • Gisborne: Thursday 11 May, 11am
  • Whangarei: Unfortunately, we can’t fit a schools’ show in. However, you are more than welcome to bring your students to an evening performance on either Friday 19 or Saturday 20 May, 7.30pm (limited availability).
  • Hamilton: Thursday 25 May, 11am
  • Tauranga: Friday 2 June, 11am
  • Christchurch: Friday 16 June, 11am
  • Dunedin: Thursday 22 June, 11am
  • Nelson: Thursday 29 June, 11am
  • Auckland: Thursday 10 August, 11am
  • Wellington: Friday 25 August, 11am:

 

Book My School

  • Thursday 04 May 2017, 7:30 pm
    Napier, Municipal Theatre
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  • Friday 05 May 2017, 7:30 pm
    Napier, Municipal Theatre
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  • Wednesday 10 May 2017, 7:30 pm
    Gisborne, War Memorial Theatre
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  • Thursday 11 May 2017, 7:30 pm
    Gisborne, War Memorial Theatre
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  • Friday 12 May 2017, 7:30 pm
    Gisborne, War Memorial Theatre
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  • Friday 19 May 2017, 7:30 pm
    Whangarei, Forum North
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  • Saturday 20 May 2017, 7:30 pm
    Whangarei, Forum North
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  • Wednesday 24 May 2017, 7:30 pm
    Hamilton, Playhouse Theatre
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  • Thursday 25 May 2017, 7:30 pm
    Hamilton, Playhouse Theatre
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  • Friday 26 May 2017, 7:30 pm
    Hamilton, Playhouse Theatre
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  • Saturday 27 May 2017, 7:30 pm
    Hamilton, Playhouse Theatre
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  • Sunday 28 May 2017, 4:00 pm
    Hamilton, Playhouse Theatre
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  • Thursday 01 June 2017, 7:30 pm
    Tauranga, Baycourt Theatre
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  • Friday 02 June 2017, 7:30 pm
    Tauranga, Baycourt Theatre
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  • Saturday 03 June 2017, 7:30 pm
    Tauranga, Baycourt Theatre
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  • Thursday 15 June 2017, 7:30 pm
    Christchurch, Isaac Theatre Royal
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  • Friday 16 June 2017, 7:30 pm
    Christchurch, Isaac Theatre Royal
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  • Saturday 17 June 2017, 7:30 pm
    Christchurch, Isaac Theatre Royal
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  • Wednesday 21 June 2017, 7:30 pm
    Dunedin, Fortune Theatre
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  • Thursday 22 June 2017, 7:30 pm
    Dunedin, Fortune Theatre
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  • Friday 23 June 2017, 7:30 pm
    Dunedin, Fortune Theatre
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  • Saturday 24 June 2017, 7:30 pm
    Dunedin, Fortune Theatre
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  • Wednesday 28 June 2017, 7:30 pm
    Nelson, Theatre Royal
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  • Thursday 29 June 2017, 7:30 pm
    Nelson, Theatre Royal
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  • Friday 30 June 2017, 7:30 pm
    Nelson, Theatre Royal
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  • Wednesday 02 August 2017, 7:00 pm
    Auckland, Q Theatre
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  • Thursday 03 August 2017, 8:00 pm
    Auckland, Q Theatre
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  • Friday 04 August 2017, 8:00 pm
    Auckland, Q Theatre
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  • Saturday 05 August 2017, 8:00 pm
    Auckland, Q Theatre
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  • Tuesday 08 August 2017, 7:00 pm
    Auckland, Q Theatre
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  • Wednesday 09 August 2017, 7:00 pm
    Auckland, Q Theatre
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  • Thursday 10 August 2017, 8:00 pm
    Auckland, Q Theatre
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  • Friday 11 August 2017, 8:00 pm
    Auckland, Q Theatre
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  • Saturday 12 August 2017, 8:00 pm
    Auckland, Q Theatre
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  • Sunday 13 August 2017, 4:00 pm
    Auckland, Q Theatre
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  • Tuesday 15 August 2017, 7:00 pm
    Auckland, Q Theatre
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  • Wednesday 16 August 2017, 7:00 pm
    Auckland, Q Theatre
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  • Thursday 17 August 2017, 7:00 pm
    Auckland, Q Theatre
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  • Friday 18 August 2017, 8:00 pm
    Auckland, Q Theatre
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  • Saturday 19 August 2017, 8:00 pm
    Auckland, Q Theatre
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  • Thursday 24 August 2017, 8:00 pm
    Wellington, Hannah Playhouse
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  • Friday 25 August 2017, 8:00 pm
    Wellington, Hannah Playhouse
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  • Saturday 26 August 2017, 8:00 pm
    Wellington, Hannah Playhouse
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  • Sunday 27 August 2017, 4:00 pm
    Wellington, Hannah Playhouse
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  • Tuesday 29 August 2017, 7:00 pm
    Wellington, Hannah Playhouse
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  • Wednesday 30 August 2017, 7:00 pm
    Wellington, Hannah Playhouse
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  • Thursday 31 August 2017, 8:00 pm
    Wellington, Hannah Playhouse
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  • Friday 01 September 2017, 8:00 pm
    Wellington, Hannah Playhouse
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  • Saturday 02 September 2017, 8:00 pm
    Wellington, Hannah Playhouse
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  • Sunday 03 September 2017, 8:00 pm
    Wellington, Hannah Playhouse
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  • Tuesday 05 September 2017, 7:00 pm
    Wellington, Hannah Playhouse
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  • Wednesday 06 September 2017, 7:00 pm
    Wellington, Hannah Playhouse
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  • Thursday 07 September 2017, 8:00 pm
    Wellington, Hannah Playhouse
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  • Friday 08 September 2017, 8:00 pm
    Wellington, Hannah Playhouse
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  • Saturday 09 September 2017, 8:00 pm
    Wellington, Hannah Playhouse
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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

Andrew Ford

Performer

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Andrew Ford

Andrew is a graduate of the Unitec School of Performing & Screen Arts (Bachelor of Performing & Screen Arts).

His theatre credits include Design for Living (Auckland Theatre Company); Peter Pan, Le Sud, The Ladykillers, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Robin Hood (Court Theatre)Shop ‘Til You Drop (Centrepoint Theatre); Stag Weekend (Court Theatre & Centrepoint Theatre); The History Boys (Peach Theatre Company); and Earnest (Fractious Tash). Last year he toured the country in The Complete History of the Royal New Zealand Navy (Abridged) as part of the Navy’s 75th anniversary celebrations.

His television credits include Shortland Street and Super City (Series 2).

2017 marks Andrew’s debut performance with Indian Ink Theatre Company in The Pickle King.

Kalyani Nagarajan

Performer

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Kalyani Nagarajan

Kalyani Nagarajan is a recent graduate of Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School. She has studied in France with Master Clown Phillipe Gaulier, where she performed Mask, Moliere and Melodrama. Her recent works include, Auckland Theatre Company’s POLO, TV series, Brokenwood Mysteries, The International Comedy Festival as well as touring The Gruffalo around New Zealand and Australia. Kalyani is very passionate about her culture and representing her background in the New Zealand arts industry. She has practiced Bharatha Natyam (Indian classical dance) for 14 years and is currently very interested in the study of accents, with many down her sleeve including Cantonese, South African, Indian, Boston and more. She is wanting to devise work and create comic yet heart-warming pieces that can give life and dignity to ordinary characters we usually ignore in society.

The best performance though is provided by Kalyani Nagarajan, with her mixture of the whimsical and pragmatic approach to life. She comes across as the only real, three-dimensional characters in the play with sensitive naturalism”  John Daly, NBR.

Vanessa Kumar

Performer

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Vanessa Kumar

Performer

A recent graduate of Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School, Vanessa’s previous roles include: Sue Lewis in The Battalion directed by Jim Moriarty (Te Rakau). Celia in As You Like It directed by Lisa Warrington. Mother, Lost boy and Pirate in Peter Pan directed by Daniel Pengelly (The Court Theatre).

Vanessa’s debut with Indian Ink was in 2015 & 2016 with her outstanding performance in The Elephant Thief.

Justin Lewis

Writer & Director

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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.

Jacob Rajan

Writer

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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.

Andrew Potvin

Production & Touring Manager

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Andrew Potvin

Andrew has a professional theatre portfolio spanning fifteen years in both his homeland of The United States of America and New Zealand. Specialising in design and production roles, Andrew started his New Zealand portfolio as the Technical Manager of the Basement Theatre (2011), and has gone on to work with companies such as Q Theatre, Indian Ink Theatre Company and Auckland Theatre Company. He is currently employed full time with PANNZ Incorporated (Tour-Makers/Arts-Market) as their Producer of Technical and Logistics. Since 2015, with Tour-Makers he has co-produced national tours of The White Guitar, Triumphs and Other Alternatives, The Book of Everything, Modern Maori Quartet, Daffodils, Live Live Cinema’s Little Shop of Horrors and The Mooncake and the Kumara. Recent design credits include Auckland Theatre Company’s Guys and Dolls and Opera Factory’s The Medium.

In 2017 Andrew hits the road with Indian Ink Theatre Company as Production Manager for their national tour of The Pickle King.

Andrew is a member of ETNZ, EVANZ and MTNZ .

Jo Kilgour

Lighting Designer

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Jo Kilgour

Jo Kilgour is an Auckland-based Technical Director & Lighting Designer with extensive touring and festival experience.

John Verryt

Set & Costume Designer

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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.

Ben Wilcock

Music Director

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Ben Wilcock

 

Ben Wilcock is a jazz pianist originally from Hamilton, NZ.
Ben’s trio The Jelly Rolls released their debut album Sneaky Weasel to critical acclaim in 2014, and were part of the Chamber Music NZ touring roster for 2016, as well as being regular performers at NZ jazz festivals.
Ben spent 2003-2008 living in the U.K, performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Indian Ink and then working as a Jazz pianist in clubs and hotels. On his return, he has worked with artists such as Bella Kalolo, Aaradhna, John Rae, Roger Fox, Bennie Maupin, Bob Moses and taught at The New Zealand School of Music from 2008 until 2014.
Recently Ben has performed in New York, Boston, Glastonbury, Australia, JavaJazz festival, Singapore, and around the UK and Europe.
He has recorded for the BBC, Radio NZ, as well as on over a dozen albums. He is now currently a lecturer of contemporary music at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology in Rotorua.

Inkspiration

  • Justin's notes
  • Jacob's notes

Having found something good, there is a temptation to want to preserve it forever. However, the act of preserving something also changes it unalterably. We’ve tried to add new ingredients to each of our shows, to make them fresh each time. Now, as we draw towards the completion of The Pickle King, I sometimes find myself struggling with a desire to bottle what has been a wonderful partnership.

In the time I have been working with Jacob, we have made three productions that have been successful beyond anything I ever imagined. We have toured nationally and internationally, ended up living with our partners and have had children. It has been, quite literally, a very fertile time. I feel very privileged to have worked with Jacob and the other wonderful people who have contributed so much to Indian Ink. I count many as my firm friends.

The figure of Death first appeared to us when studying the commedia dell’arte in Italy. Death is a stock character in the commedia; ever present in daily life, but always outwitted at the last gasp by the comic zanni (crazy servants). In these times of refrigeration and irradiated food we often try to pretend he is not there. We use medicine, science, cosmetics, diets, exercise regimes, work, and ever increasing wealth to keep him at bay. But he is as present as ever and working on this show I have come to believe that we lose sight of him at our peril – he reminds us what is truly worth preserving.

The story goes that 200 years ago there was a Maharajah, a King, whose daughter suffered a terrible illness during the course of which she went blind. The royal physicians were powerless to help her so the maharajah sent word throughout the kingdom of his daughter’s illness in the hope that a cure might be found. Doctors and holy men came from near and far. Month after month potions were made, incantations were muttered but none could help the girl. Finally, when it seemed that there was nothing more that could be done a doctor named Kaliyilal, from a far away village, came to the palace. He sought permission to treat the princess. Kaliyilal applied a poultice to the girl’s eyes. He asked that the bandage remain in place throughout the night. In the morning when the poultice was removed the princess could see. The maharajah was overjoyed. Kaliyilal was showered with gifts, gold and land. What’s more, to ensure that Kaliyilal’s knowledge was passed on, it was decreed that his descendants would never pay taxes as long as they were doctors. And for 200 years, even though the tax exemption has lapsed, there has always been a doctor in the Kaliyilal line.

I’m a descendant of that line. I never made it to medical school but this piece of family history infuses this play like garlic and chilli flavour cold pressed oil. I dedicate The Pickle King to the memory of my father, Dr Kaliyilal Luke Rajan.

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