There are plays that I choose not to review (Most American produced Shakespeare, Sarah Ruhl, and Tom Stoppard.) in self-knowledge that I’ll be too critical. I am delighted to make the exception for Pratidhwani & Sound Theater Company’s production of Indian Ink.
Indian Ink by Tom Stoppard takes place both in the 1930’s and 1980’s. In the 30’s, it follows the adventures of Flora Crewe, poet, (the delightful Caitlin Frances) who travels to India and gets her portrait done by local artist Nirad Das (the brilliant Dhiraj Khanna) while discussing life, love, politics, and poetry. A deep friendship forms.
In the 1980’s, Eldon Pike, scholar, (Scott Ward Abernethy) tracks down Flora’s sister Eleanor (Betty Campbell) to discover the truth about Flora’s adventures in India. Anish Das (Monish Gangwani), Nirad’s son also visits to find out the truth about his father and Flora. These two stories weave together in a fluid harmony.
Campbell is lovely as Eleanor. She is sooooooo British (Offering seamless backhanded compliments while being raciest and rude. IE; very degrading with a false sense of superiority) that I wanted to punch her in the face. She was perfect. Frances has the ideal spark and spunk for the modern forward thinking Flora. Coupled with Khanna, who plays Nirad with all heart and passion, their scenes are thoroughly captivating.
It’s hard to pull off a successful Stoppard play. The plays are long and if the actor misunderstands one line of dialogue, whole chunks of scenes can fall apart. Because of the talent in this production, every scene moved swiftly and all the moments are engrossing. The actors were always engaged.
I highly highly recommend Indian Ink for anyone who wants a terrific night of theater.
By Rachel Tyrrel