Tea (Auckland, New Zealand)
1 Feb 2019 - 31 Mar 2021
AMBITIOUS AND LUXURIOUS IN SCALE, THIS SWEEPING SAGA, SPANNING THOUSANDS OF YEARS BETWEEN THE TEA ESTATES OF SRI LANKA AND A DISTANT FUTURE, HERALDS A NEW DIRECTION FOR SOUTH ASIAN THEATRE IN AOTEAROA.
The first cup caresses my dry lips and throat,
The second shatters the walls of my lonely sadness,
The third searches the dry rivulets of my soul to find the stories of five thousand scrolls.
With the fourth the pain of past injustice vanishes through my pores.
The fifth purifies my flesh and bone.
With the sixth I am in touch with the immortals.
The seventh gives such pleasure I can hardly bear.
The fresh wind blows through my wings
As I make my way to you.
– The Oppari
From a story of two brothers trying to make sense of Sri Lanka under colonial rule, to workers' rights on a tea plantation, to war and protest during the country's violent uprising, to a speculative future concerned with the environment, the narrative scope of this play is truly expansive.
Matching its sophisticated rendering of grand themes and visual motifs is an opulent tableau of movement, a lavish set designed by visual artist Tiffany Singh, and an original score inspired by traditional Indian and Sri Lankan music. Also drawing on the work of Arundathi Roy and the magic realism of Salman Rushdie, Tea represents Karunaharan's epic creative vision finally realised.
World premiere at Auckland Arts Festival 2018; Co-produced by Auckland Arts Festival & The Oryza Foundation for Asian Performing Arts in association with Agaram Productions; developed with the assistance of Auckland Theatre Company.
"We are left thirsty for more"
– Nathan Joe, Theatrescenes
"Tea a deeply satisfying brew"
– Dione Joseph, NZ Herald