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Read: Fun and food at Mrs Krishnan’s Party

The magic of theatre is its ability to mirror humanity’s differences and similarities. We are all aware of our own cultural identity and can sometime assume people from other backgrounds don’t share our values or our experiences. 

Mrs Krishnan’s Party reminds us that celebration, food, and family are at the core of every society and culture. 

This play is a little bit different than most. The audience is separated into sections. I was seated appropriately in the ‘wallflower’ section, because I wasn’t in a party mood. Others were seated right in the middle of the set at a dining table, and others in stools around the set perimeter. The entire theatre acted as a hall behind a shop and was festooned with fairy lights and decorations.

The play is a sort of sequel to the play Krishnan’s Dairy and concerns the widow of Krishnan preparing for the Indian festival of Onam. She is lonely and grieving her husband and longing for the return of her son. She has a lodger, James (Justin Rogers) who has invited us all along to celebrate Onam with Mrs Krishnan Kalyani Nagarajan), she just doesn’t know about it. 

Arriving home she is, at first surprised and horrified to see all of the unanticipated guests but  gradually opens up as sets about cooking a large meal for everyone.  

The plot is fairly simple but the play is both moving and funny. As time goes on, Mrs Krishnan tells the mythical story of King Mahabali which lies at the heart of the festival of Onam. It is a story that underscores the belief that nothing lasts forever and that self-understanding overcomes all sorrow. It is a fitting metaphor of the grief both characters in the play are dealing with. 

Audience members are invited to participate in the food preparation and it is these interactions which provide the show with its funniest and sometimes most touching moments.

The best part of this play are the two actors. Nagarajan and Rogers bounce off each other incredibly well and both are believable – in Nagarajan’s case, she convincingly plays a woman quite a bit older than herself. 

Mrs Krishnan’s Party is an interesting and heartwarming play that is the perfect antidote to a cold New Zealand winter. 

MRS KRISHNAN’S PARTY 

AUCKLAND

6-18 August 2019

Q Theatre  Click here for more details

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