Krystal Kiran is a Canada based actress and performing artist. She will be seen co-starring in Mira Nair’s upcoming “Monsoon Wedding” musical which will be world premiering at Berkeley Rep Theatre in California from May to June 2017, with a planned Broadway run.
Krystal’s past stage and theatre credits include Bombay Dreams (original Broadway cast, New York), AR Rahman’s Jai Ho World Tour, Lord of the Rings (Mirvish Productions, Toronto), and West Side Story (Citadel Theatre, Edmonton). Some of Krystal’s past film and TV credits include Suicide Squad, Minority Report, Hemlock Grove, Hairspray, Workin’ Moms, Hellcats, and The Love Guru.
Ink had an exclusive conversation with Kiran about work and life:
My name is Krystal Kiran Garib. I was born and raised in Penticton, British Columbia in the Okanagan Valley (also known as Wine Country in Canada). It’s a small town, so to keep busy after school I took dance classes. My mom put me in ballet at age three and I picked up other dance forms throughout my youth such as jazz and tap. We visited India at least once a year so I studied kathak on family trips to Kolkata. Unbeknownst to us at the time, my passion for dance and performing which started out as a hobby would eventually become my profession.
2. What drew your interest towards art?
I used to stutter when I was younger and would find it literally impossible to speak and get words out. Dance and singing were a way in which I could express myself without limitation. Studying South Asian forms such as kathak and Hindustani classical music helped me feel connected to my culture. All of these things combined have manifested me into doing the type of work and projects I have done thus far.
3. Why did you choose to pursue a career in acting/singing?
In addition to the reasons listed above I have to say, although it sounds like cliche, I feel like this career chose me and not the other way around. I distinctly remember the moment “the bug” bit me. There are many ups and downs in this career and it is not always stable which can be very frustrating and disconcerting. Much of the time I feel like any sane person would pursue something more steady and, in fact, I have tried to do other “steadier” things. Yet, despite all of that, I am still here and doing it. So… I really feel like it chose me and not the other way around. I surrender!
4. Please give us a brief overview of the projects you have been a part of so far.
For theatre, my career started at age 19 when I was cast in Bombay Dreams on Broadway in NYC. Following that I was an original cast member in the World Premiere production of Lord of the Rings in Toronto, AR Rahman’s Jai Ho World Tour as a featured soloist/singer, West Side Story and now Monsoon Wedding with Mira Nair. I’ve done several film and television projects as well including recently being an assistant choreographer on ‘Suicide Squad’. I’ll be guest starring in an episode of “Private Eyes” with Jason Priestly in Season 2!
5. Which project of yours has been the most special to you so far?
Each project is a new experience and special its own way so it’s hard to compare. Working with AR Rahman was my childhood dream come true, as is currently working with Mira Nair. Making my own projects is also very important to me. I feel like each one is a baby I bring into the world.
6. Your short film project “Thy Beauty’s Doom” is dedicated to the slain 19 year old Canadian university student, Maple Batalia. Please share some more information about what inspired this project.
I feel like I had alot in common with Maple and so when I heard of her murder, the tragedy really effected me on a visceral level. Here was someone who was young, talented and had so many dreams and ambitions. To have that taken from her at such a young age in such a senseless way, I suppose I felt helpless and wanted to do something to help. “Thy Beauty’s Doom” is a tribute to her paintings and artistry. Along with her family, we set up the Maple Batalia Memorial Scholarship for the Arts at Emily Carr University in Vancouver. This fund is available to South Asian female students wishing to pursue the arts as a career because we know that many, if not most, South Asian women are not encouraged to do so.
7. How was the experience of working with musical maestro A.R Rehman during his Jai Jo tour like?
It was nothing short of a dream come true and some what surreal. Rahman sir is an inspiration on so many levels, he is a gem of a human being and musical genius. I have learned so much from him and made some really wonderful friends (who are now like family) on that tour.
8. Which medium do you enjoy most for acting – theatre, film or television?
They are all so different that it’s impossible to compare. With that said, theatre is how I started my career and will always be home to me. No performance is ever the same no matter how many times you do it and there is an aliveness that comes with that.
9. How are you preparing for Mira Nair’s upcoming Monsoon Wedding musical as this is also your Berkeley Rep debut? Please tell us a bit about your role in the musical.
We are now in full swing of rehearsals! We just finished two weeks of rehearsals in NYC (coincidentally in the exact same studios/rooms that we rehearsed Bombay Dreams in – a very full circle moment). My character’s name is Saroj Rai and I am also a featured dancer in the show. I am involved in creating my own choreography for a featured dance part in the show which feels very fulfilling and cathartic. In fact, all of us performers in the show are essentially creating these roles as we are first people to play them and put them on stage.
In addition to my own role, I also I understudy and cover the role of “Alice” which is played by Anisha Nagarajan who people know from the NBC TV show Outsourced. This is another full circle moment because Anisha and I did Bombay Dreams together where I also understudied her and we were even roommates on that show too! She is such a beautiful talent and woman. Aside from that, my goal is to stay open and receptive to this creative process… to allow it to take us, as a company, where we are meant to go. At this point it’s all about the journey…
10. What message would you like to give out to Ink readers?
Anything is possible if you believe in the beauty of your dreams. Be persistent, but also patient. Let fear motivate you, not immobilize you.