Indian Ink, playing at the Laura Pels Theatre paints a fragrant view of a 1930’s love affair in India where the stakes were high and the temperatures more so. Playwright Tom Stoppard (The Real Inspector Hound) provides a beautiful structure for the characters to laugh and have joy amidst the tragedies that envelop their lives, not because of them, but in spite of them. The set design and lighting transcend us from the basement of the playhouse to an exotic land where the taste of forbidden fruit is to be both worshipped as well as cause for disgrace.
Rather than describe the reasons why you should go see this gorgeous and erotic production, let me elucidate the reasons why the reviewers who “didn’t get it” didn’t get it. They are emotionally stagnant; they’re accustomed to in-your-face, pornographic, over-the-top, let us tell you what you need to think and feel storylines…oh but they are excited about Rosemary Harris because their first year drama teacher told them to be; and most importantly, they’ve not experienced the juxtaposition of circumstances that life offers us if we are at all daring. Screw them. See the play. It’s smoldering as restraint confines desire and longing.
The costuming and props were simple and honest which was in stark contrast to the reality of the tellers of the tale who told more with what they didn’t say than what they did. I loved it! And obviously the audience of seasoned theater-goers did as well as they applauded at intermission- something I’ve not experienced but once or twice in many years of seeing shows.
Directed by Carey Perloff are Rosemary Harris (The Road to Mecca) as Eleanor Swan who is the beloved of her departed sister, Flora Crewe played by Romola Garai (I Capture the Castle). Though separated by two different worlds, they share verve and an acceptance of their life’s limitations whilst living more, within those limitations, than the entire rest do without. The best thing that the men in the performance do is provide a structure for these ladies just as a canvas gives a platform for a painting- without it, there can be no real art. Bravo men for having the fancy footwork directed by dance captain, Claire Brownell, be mirrored in the way you beautifully provide a frame to allow these women to dance and twirl.Put up by the Roundabout Theatre Company, the show runs through November 30 and should be seen by lovers and romantics alike.
Review By: Michele Seven
Photos By: Joan Marcus