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The Pickle King feels like a modern day fairy tale Erin Harrington, Theatreview, June 2017
very tidy and tight, a very neat production Gin Mabey, Theatreview. 2 June 2017
Yes, Indian Ink's latest tour is a master of deception. Kelley Tantau, stuff.co.nz
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 made a significant change in this vintage Indian Ink script to centre the love story around a same sex couple. Whilst this contemporary update would have been a real statement 15 years ago – today it just reflects the diverse culture of New Zealand.
 
All wrapped up “in a package of good plain laughs, luminous performances and brilliant staging” (Dominion Post) this timeless tale highlights the injustices of immigration and globalisation, and having the courage to love, no matter your gender. 
 
The Pickle King will be touring across New Zealand from 4 May – 9 Sept – 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

Mask Workshops

Indian Ink was founded on a passion for mask performance. As part of the national tour, Indian Ink Theatre Company is offering free mask workshops with our own writer and director, Justin Lewis, or our writer and performer, Jacob Rajan!

Catering for different age groups, ranging from intermediate students to university drama students through to adult theatre practitioners, this workshop allows students to participate in exercises and games to experience what it is to act “at the level of mask.”  The workshop focuses on liberating the body and voice to create characters that amplify human emotion, relationships and truth.

2017 Mask Workshops (limited numbers)
  • Whangarei:
    Thursday 18 May, 6pm
    OneOneSix
  • Christchurch:
    Thursday 15 June, 9am & 10.30am
    Friday 16 June, 1.45pm & 3.30pm
    Isaac Theatre Royal

 

To book your spot, or enquire about mask workshops in your city, contact our Production Intern, Bala, at bala@indianink.co.nz

 

  • from Thursday 04 May 2017
    NAPIER, Municipal Theatre
    Book Now
  • from Wednesday 10 May 2017
    GISBORNE, War Memorial Theatre
    Book Now
  • from Friday 19 May 2017
    WHANGAREI, Forum North
    Book Now
  • from Wednesday 24 May 2017
    HAMILTON, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts
    Book Now
  • from Thursday 01 June 2017
    TAURANGA, Baycourt Theatre
    Book Now
  • from Thursday 15 June 2017
    CHRISTCHURCH, Isaac Theatre Royal
    Book Now
  • from Wednesday 21 June 2017
    DUNEDIN, Fortune Theatre
    Book Now
  • from Wednesday 28 June 2017
    NELSON, Theatre Royal
    Book Now
  • from Wednesday 02 August 2017
    AUCKLAND, Q Theatre
    Book Now
  • from Thursday 24 August 2017
    WELLINGTON, Hannah Playhouse
    Book Now
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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.

What's Been Said

The Pickle King feels like a modern day fairy tale Erin Harrington, Theatreview, June 2017
very tidy and tight, a very neat production Gin Mabey, Theatreview. 2 June 2017
Yes, Indian Ink's latest tour is a master of deception. Kelley Tantau, stuff.co.nz

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.

Aryton Foote

Performer

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Aryton Foote

A graduate of Te Koki New Zealand School of Music, Ayrton has been an active participant of the Wellington jazz and music scene for the last couple years. He currently plays for a wide range of different bands and musicians including the likes of Rodger Fox, John Rae, The Wellington Mingus Ensemble, C-26 Salsa Band, Oy Azoy to name a few. As well as playing for local Wellington bands, Ayrton can be found playing for bands on cruise ships, and touring around New Zealand with his originals band Tawhiri Funk. Having grown up around the theatre scene in his home town of Whanganui, Ayrton was involved in local productions with lead roles in shows such as Les Miserables and Urinetown. After nearly 6 years working as a professional musician Ayrton is looking forward to returning to the stage in his debut performance with Indian Ink.

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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