Yann Martel’s story of Life of Pi was first published back in 2001, and adapted into a movie a decade later and now, thanks to some creative wizardry has been further adapted for the stage by Lolita Chakrabarti featuring an amazing menagerie of animals in this sensational, award-winning play at the Wyndham's Theatre.
Imagine that you were in a shipwreck. How do you think you would cope? Do you think you could survive, and then spend 227 days sailing all across the world? Could you also co-exist with a Royal Bengal tiger? Now do you think you could you do these things at the same time....and manage to stay in the boat?
Pi is a young boy who becomes the sole human survivor of a shipwreck. Due to the extreme circumstances of the situation, he must do the unthinkable to survive and travels across the world to live to tell the tale. While on his travels, Pi finds himself in truly unexplainable situations, and when he finally arrives back on dry land and recalls his journey, everyone questions him.
But why should you see Life of Pi? Here’s your ultimate guide to everything about this incredible theatrical production.
What is the play Life of Pi about?
At the beginning of the Life of Pi play, the audience is introduced to the Patel family as Piscine Patel attempts to find himself in an increasingly chaotic world. He finds peace through the great religions of Christianity, Islam and Hinduism while growing up in Pondicherry, and when his family realise that he is an omnist, they attempt to understand how Pi sees the world while at the same time preparing themselves for a journey to Canada along with all their zoo animals.
What happens next to the Patel family though defies all expectations and planning as a torrential storm at sea causes their ship to sink with Pi becoming the sole human survivor. He alone can navigate his way to safety and also ensure the safety of his last remaining companions - a Bengal tiger (named Richard Parker), a zebra, a hyena, and an orangutan.
During their epic sea journey lasting an incredible 227 days, the bizarre group come up against a variety of stressful situations which put their lives in peril. After reaching safety and making it back to land, Pi is interrogated by the authorities as they question the events that happened at sea. As Pi recounts his experiences, it becomes clear that travelling solo for so long has affected his state of mind.
Which theatre does Life of Pi play at?
Life of Pi is the resident production at the Wyndham’s Theatre which is a West End theatre located next to Leicester Square underground station.
How long is the play Life of Pi?
The running time of Life of Pi is 2 hours and 10 minutes. There is a 15-minute interval in the play.
What days of the week does Life of Pi play?
Life of Pi plays a total of eight performances per week at the Wyndham’s Theatre. Evening performances of the play are on Wednesday through to Monday, with matinee performances also available on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.
When did play Life of Pi first premiere?
Life of Pi premiered in Sheffield at the Crucible Theatre in 2019 where it ran from June 28th to July 20th. The initial reviews for Life of Pi were extremely positive, praising the innovative method of storytelling. The production was then due to make the transfer into the West End in June 2020, however due to the Covid-19 pandemic performances were unfortunately cancelled.
Life of Pi eventually arrived in the West End and opened at its current home at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2021 with previews beginning on November 15th and the play had its official opening night at the venue on December 2nd.
Who wrote the play Life of Pi?
Lolita Chakrabarti has adapted Yann Martel’s story of Life of Pi for the stage. Her previous London stage works include 'Red Velvet' in the West End, and 'Hymn' which was performed at the Almeida Theatre. her small screen credits include 'Riviera' and 'The Casual Vacancy'. Chakrabarti received an OBE for services to drama in 2021.
Who are the characters in Life of Pi?
Life of Pi features very few human characters as the story focuses on one boy's epic journey at sea alongside his animals. The animals are brilliantly brought to life by incredible puppeteering which just adds to the atmosphere of the production.
Piscine Patel (Pi): Prior to the Patel family setting sail, Pi's family run a zoo. The family planned to emigrating to Canada from Pondicherry, India. Pi has always struggled to find stability in his life, but finds calm and solace in religion. His life turns upside down however when he becomes the only survivor after their ship sinks in a huge storm. Consequently, he finds stuck himself on a lifeboat for 227 days with only a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra and a Royal Bengal tiger for company. After a long time just drifting at sea, Pi finally ends up in Mexico, and is questioned by the authorities. Pi recounts the events that happened at sea, and while he tells the tale, it becomes apparent that the animals are in fact symbols for his peers and family.
While the character of 'Pi' is central to Life of Pi, there are many other characters in the show. Mr Okamoto and Lulu Chen are the two researchers who question Pi to find out how his epic journey was possible? Other characters that feature in the play are the rest of the Patel family, the pious people of Pondicherry, and workers aboard the doomed Tsimtsum ship.
Has Life of Pi won any awards?
Life of Pi has 'wowed' both critics and audiences alike, and the sheer brilliance of the production has also not gone un-noticed by the awarding bodies in the industry. Life of Pi was a big winner at the 2022 Olivier Awards where it triumphed in several key categories including 'Best Director', 'Best New Play', 'Best Actor', 'Best Actor in a Supporting Role', 'Best Lighting Design' and 'Best Set Design'.
How to get tickets to Life of Pi?
Tickets to the West End production of Life of Pi are available to book now. Book tickets to Life of Pi both online through Theatretickets-London.co.uk and also from the box office at the Wyndham's Theatre.