Indian-origin actor’s play part of arts event in US

New York: “The Elephant Wrestler”, a play written and performed by Indian-origin Jacob Rajan, is part of Cohen and Grigsby Trust’s Series India in Focus, a six-week long event which began on Friday and which is being held in the US city of Pittsburgh, according to a media report.

Based on an Indian fairy tale called “Punchkin”, “The Elephant Wrestler” tells the story of a tea seller who deals with seven girls who are abandoned by their father at the railroad station, the Exponent Telegram reported on Friday.

The play’s former title was “The Guru of Chai”.

“After we had been touring, some of the presenters commented that the title was a little challenging, having two foreign words, which is potentially off-putting,” Rajan was quoted as saying. So he came up with “The Elephant Wrestler”.

“The anti-hero of the play is an honest cop. He is very large and a little self-conscious about how big he is. Following his journey through the play, this is something I had not caught on till I changed the title. It came into focus that it was about him, not the characters I thought it was,” he said.

Rajan is the only cast member, and by changing his voice and physical aspects, he plays all the characters.

“You can see the guy transforming with no costume changes, with just my voice and body,” he said.

Rajan was born in Malaysia and raised in Wellington, New Zealand, by his Indian parents.

As part of the India in Focus event, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust will be hosting several India-themed events, including “Mystic India”, called a “Bollywood dance spectacular”, which will be presented on November 8 at the city’s Byham Theatre.