Kalyani Nagarajan, star of Indian Ink’s new theatre production Mrs Krishnan’s Party, gave us the inside scoop on playing a character twice her age and throwing balloons into the audience.
Nexus: The Indian Ink Theatre Company loves to bridge cultures and expand boundaries, how would you say Mrs Krishnan’s Party contributes to this?
KN: I think Mrs Krishnan’s Party has a really effective way of creating a community; different faiths, races, walks of life all come together in celebration of the Hindu festival Onam. You talk to strangers, create a party and sense of community! I think Indian Ink is so effective in expanding boundaries and this show is doing that with leaps and bounds. The story is incredibly heartwarming and hilarious.
Nexus: The play has an incredible immersive element to it; involving the audience by coming down into the crowd, and playing with balloons. How important was it to use this to play off the idea of a big, crazy party?
KN: It’s immersive in the way that the audiences/guests of the party are all sitting in the middle of the action. There is no stage as such which is super exciting. Everything unfolds before their eyes. Which makes the story very present and alive. The audience are essential and we treat them as guests of the party. We wanted everyone is just let loose and have all the “rules” of the theatre we are so used to broken. It’s fresh and full of life and the shows changes every night!
Nexus: The stage and props are super dynamic and interesting! The boiling pots and DJ turntable – how much is real?
KN: Everything! We thought about it the other day, because there are sooo many hazards...Our stage manager has a fire extinguisher and burn cream on the ready ... I always get a bit nervous when I have to chop onions furiously cause if I cut myself it would all have to be sorted and the show would hopefully go on!
Nexus: So, you play Zina Krishnan, a character who is way older than yourself. How did you prepare for the role?
KN: Justin Lewis our director is incredible by giving us tools to transform! My mask really helps, it’s a set of teeth and some glasses. I also have a clear image of the Indian ‘other’ architype ! It’s not easy but this is a character I know so well so came naturally also !
Nexus: Why should students head along?
KN: It is such an exciting piece of theatre. Everything unfolds in real time. Real situations. No fake. No time jumps. It’s all fresh, alive and full of heart. It is the direction I see theatre going. Theatre is really good at creating and reflecting relationships and Mrs Krishnan’s Party does it brilliantly. It’s a show everyone can relate to. We hope you think about your life in this show and not take life so seriously! James, the other character in the show, is a uni student and he has some real troubles and issues I think all students and younger people will relate to ! I certainly do!
Kalyani Nagarajan performs in Mrs Krishnan’s Party, at The Meteor from Wednesday 15 – Saturday 18 August.
Tickets are available online from The Meteor.
Visit indianink.co.nz/production/mrs-krishnans-party/ for full information.