Lively atmosphere at “Mrs. Krishnan's Party.” (Photo by Ankita Singh)
Dahl, dancing, and a healthy dose of drama: Mrs. Krishnan’s Party, an immersive, interactive touring production created by New Zealand-based Indian Ink Theatre Company, is set to return to U.S. stages this season after a North American tour in 2019-20. It is framed as a sequel to Krishnan’s Dairy, a highly successful mask play about an immigrant couple’s corner shop, which first inspired the company’s innovative storytelling style in 1997 and has had lasting appeal ever since.
“We have this idea of a serious laugh,” explained Indian Ink co-founder and co-writer Jacob Rajan. “We want to entertain, but we also want people to think and to feel. It’s the idea of using laughter to open people up to talk about serious themes.”
Don’t worry if you’ve never seen the original, celebrated the Keralan festival of Onam, or even set foot inside a “dairy” (the Kiwi term for a convenience store or bodega) like the one run by the widowed Mrs. Zina Krishnan—all are welcome to attend and encouraged to enjoy. The festivities continue at Actors Theatre of Louisville Dec. 6-17, followed by stops in Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Toronto.
“It’s really about immersing yourself,” Rajan continued. “You enter the room as strangers and you leave as a community. Like any good party, there’ll be tears, there’ll be dancing on tables, there’ll be wine shared and split—there’s that kind of feeling in the room at the end.” It will be more than a feeling: dahl, a flavorful lentil dish, will be cooked live onstage, in a recipe based on Rajan’s mother’s. “When you can generate that atmosphere, the whole idea that this is pretend disappears, you actually feel a real connection, and you’ve actually played a part in the resolving of something here, or in the beginning of something new.”
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