Where It All Began: Krishnan’s Dairy Is Back In Business
Theatre Company presents
Written by Jacob Rajan
One of New Zealand’s most treasured and successful works returns to Nelson, Christchurch and Hamilton in May to tell the tale of where it all began. The multi award-winning Krishnan’s Dairy has not been presented in these centres for at least 15 years and its limited run offers new audiences a chance to experience this theatrical gem, alongside returning audiences who cherished this experience first-time round.
Take a look behind the counter of the corner dairy and discover a love story as wondrous as the Taj Mahal. Gobi and Zina Krishnan have come to New Zealand in search of a better life. They keep their dreams stacked on the shelf of their suburban dairy but now Zina wants to go back to India.
“A ground-breaking work: it changes the way you see the world.” – The NZ Listener
Indian Ink stole the heart of the nation in 1997 when, fresh out of drama school, a young Jacob Rajan teamed up with Justin Lewis to bring Krishnan’s Dairy to the stage. Jump forward 23 years and this now iconic work has toured to Australia, Edinburgh, Singapore, in selected US locations, and extensively throughout New Zealand, playing to a staggering audience of 70,000 plus. Almost every performance in New Zealand sold out before opening, with many people returning again and again drawn by the combination of humour, artful telling, and a profoundly moving emotional punch.
Krishnan’s Dairy was originally inspired by Rajan trying to make sense of his parents’ arranged marriage and the struggles and opportunities experienced by new immigrants. “The capacity of ordinary people to exhibit extraordinary love is what I witnessed in my parents’ marriage and it still makes me smile. That is what I want people to experience in Krishnan’s Dairy,” says Rajan.
The timeless story of Krishnan’s Dairy is as relevant now as ever with dairy owners still facing some of the same challenges they did twenty-two years ago, including personal safety and economic viability. Global issues tackled in the show are also ageless. ‘Its universal for all parents to want a better life for their kids’ says Rajan.
In 2016, for the first time, Indian Ink took Krishnan’s Dairy home to India where it was enthusiastically received by audiences in Kolkata, Bengaluru, and New Delhi. In addition to nightly standing ovations, Better India voted it as the number one all time play for theatre lovers in India.
“Justin Lewis’ direction is impeccable with minimal sets, clever use of props and well-coordinated sound and lighting design...Rib-tickling humor and thrills are guaranteed” – Better India
Krishnan’s Dairy undoubtedly put Indian Ink on the map and led the company into a bold future that would realise multiple national and international tours and the creation of eight new works – all designed to give their loyal audiences the experience of ‘serious laughter’.
“A piece of absolute enchantment” – The Scotsman
Five years ago, Indian Ink decided it was time to revisit Krishnan’s Dairy. Aotearoa wanted to know what happened to their beloved Mrs. Krishnan; what had become of her life and her family? The storeroom of the dairy was flung open and audiences were invited in to celebrate Onam with Mrs. K. Mrs Krishnan’s Party premiered two years ago and in the same way as Krishnan’s Dairy, has taken off. In a short two years it has been seen by 17,000 people and performed 180 times on the national and international stage. That success prompted a desire in Indian Ink return to their roots and rediscover the timeless story at the origin of their innovative company.
“We realised that there’s now a generation out there who have seen Mrs. Krishnan’s Party but haven’t seen Krishnan’s Dairy,” says Lewis. “We want to give people the chance to experience the whole story .”
The ultimate one-man-show, Jacob Rajan still revels in performing this career-defining work which sees him juggling multiple characters through seamless mask work and heart-warming humour.
“Comic genius... a tour de force from a master of multicultural mayhem.” - Melbourne Age
First Award, Edinburgh –
Production of the Year; Chapman Tripp Theatre
Awards - Production of the Year; NZ
Listener Reader’s Poll