“Guru of Chai,” a production from one of New Zealand’s most successful theatre companies, Indian Ink, has come to the U.S. for the first time. 

The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech and the Taubman Museum of Art present “Guru of Chai” on Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 24 at 3 p.m. at the Taubman, 110 Salem Avenue, Roanoke, Va.

“Guru of Chai” tells a story of simple truths that connects the lives of a poor chai wallah (tea seller), a young girl, a policeman, and a poet — all played out against the backdrop of contradictions between technology and ancient gods in modern day India. This forms the basis of the story about the dangers of people keeping their souls locked in a cage. The guru’s life is changed forever when a young girl is abandoned at the station and brings the place to a standstill with the beauty of her singing. The honest young policeman falls hopelessly in love, but is rejected in favor of the disreputable poet. All the while, the guru counsels the audience on the barriers to happiness and shares his observations on humanity’s desire for love.

Watch a clip of highlights from "Guru of Chai."

Indian Ink was founded by Justin Lewis and Jacob Rajan. The pair first lit up the stage in 1997 with “Krishnan's Dairy” and has created other shows combining Indian themes with modernity in the context of traditional theatre. Indian Ink's productions have won numerous awards, including two Edinburgh Fringe First awards and three Production of the Year awards in New Zealand.

Lewis, writer and director for “Guru of Chai,” has produced numerous national and international tours and serves as deputy chair of Q Theatre in Mumbai, India.  He is a graduate of the John Bolton Theatre School and University of Auckland. Rajan worked with Lewis to write “Guru of Chai” and stars as the production’s main character, the guru. Rajan is an Arts Foundation Laureate and has performed throughout New Zealand and internationally. He received a Chapman Tripp Theatre award for best actor in 2010 for his performance in “Guru of Chai” and was nominated for the Stage Award for Acting Excellence at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Tickets are $25 for general admission and $20 for Taubman Museum of Art Friends. Student/youth tickets are $10 and $7 for Taubman Museum of Art Friends (student/youth). To purchase tickets, please call 540-342-5760. For more information about the Center for the Arts 2011-2012 season performances, visit the Center for the Arts website.



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