The stars in the firmament need no ornamentation to add to their natural beauty. Likewise The Candlestickmaker needs no embellishment to tell its tale of a brilliant astrophysicist.
This piece of theatre tackles the complex subject of astrophysics with breathtaking simplicity. One actor, one puppeteer and one musician combine to pay tribute to Nobel prizewinner Subramanyan Chandrasekhar.
The Indian-American astrophysicist was one of the first scientists to combine the disciplines of physics and astronomy. Chandrasekhar was awarded the Physics Nobel prize for his theoretical work on the gravitational collapse of stars. His stellar intellect and his appreciation of truth and beauty are aptly reflected in this beautifully crafted tribute.
The story takes place in an Indian household that is depicted with a rustic and yet sophisticated system of ropes and pulleys on which the paraphernalia of each of the rooms rises and falls hence setting the scene for a kitchen or a study. The overall effect is palpably Indian. The empty set portends a night of imagination and storytelling.
Jacob Rajan received rave reviews for Krishman’s Dairy. Rajan, with Justin Lewis, has created another masterpiece with The Candlestickmaker. Justin Lewis directs the play and it is Rajan who takes on a selection of mask-clad roles to tell Chandrasekhar’s story. Rajan uses sleight of hand to exchange masks for four characters – student Sunil, Uncle Rohan, servant Kalyani and Chandrasekhar himself.
As the quicksilver change of masks takes place Rajan transforms his character and the story unfolds. He wondrously portrays the unsuspecting Sunil who is somewhat out of his depth as he copes with the heat and idiosyncrasies of India and his Uncle’s household. Rajan is also brilliant as the pitiably pompous and ambitious Uncle Rohan, and equally excels as the feisty Kalyani. Each character is funny and heart-warming.
Rajan is ably supported by puppeteer Kate Parker who magically breathes life into an enchanting duck. The captivating presence of the duck is a testimony to Parker’s brilliance, as are her slow-motion enactments.
Musician David Ward also adds to the atmosphere of an Indian household with his haunting music.
The Candlestickmaker is an awe-inspiring work of genius that celebrates the ordinariness of an extraordinary man and reminds us all of the truth and beauty of the world around us.
Indian Ink Theatre Company presents
by Jacob Rajan & Justin Lewis
Directed by Justin Lewis
Venue: Dunstan Playhouse
Dates: 12-16 May 8pm, 14 May 11am
Tickets: Adult $45, Conc $40, Student $25, Groups (6+) $40
Bookings: BASS 131 246 or www.bass.net.au