When: Wednesday, 11 July - Saturday, 21 July
Where: Q Theatre - Rangatira, 305 Queen St, Auckland
How much: $24 - $29
Indian Ink’s Guru of Chai is a stripped-back multi-generational tale set in the heart of India, where ancient practices and the latest advances in technology curiously coexist. Where you might find a man selling mugs of tea on the street parked next to that most holy symbol of consumerism; a Starbucks café.
The charming buck-toothed narrator Kutisar works as a chai-wallah (tea seller) in a busy train station. Despite struggling to make a living, he’s jovial and philosophical about his lot in life. His luck changes for the better however, the day he meets the seven beautiful sisters whose singing enchants everyone who hears it. From that day onwards, his life is forever intertwined with theirs.
Seasoned actor Jacob Rajan is just fantastic in this one-man play. With the slump of his shoulders or a petulant stare he switches between the role of narrator and chai-wallah to a portly policeman, a common thug, the seven sisters and more. Magic tricks, audience interaction, slapstick, puppetry and enchanting song and dance are all seamlessly woven into the story and provide much-needed humour to counterbalance the tragic events that play out.
It’s not at all surprising this polished production has toured both locally and internationally. Credit, in part, must be given to co-writer and director Justin Lewis for his contribution to the quick-witted script. David Ward’s banjo playing also deserves mention not only because there’s no substitute for live music but also for his ingenious use of sound effects to mimic such things as a gun firing and the wind blowing. Guru of Chai is dynamic, intelligent and engaging - the sort of production that reminds you how unique and exciting theatre can be.