Indian Ink is a 1995 play by Tom Stoppard, based on his 1991 radio play In the Native State. Indian Ink had its first performance at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, and opened at the Aldwych Theatre, London, on February 27, 1995. The production was directed by Peter Wood and designed by Carl Toms. The play had its American premiere in 1999 at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California, directed by Carey Perloff.
In 1930, the year of Gandhi's Salt March, British poet Flora Crewe travels to India for her health. Flora is a thoroughly modern girl who has modeled for Modigliani, hobnobbed with communists, and been accused of obscenity for the racy book A Nymph and Her Muse. In India her portrait is painted by the Indian artist Nirad while she fends off the attentions of a dashing but dimwitted scion of the British raj. But her bravado hides the knowledge that she is severely ill with tuberculosis.
In the 1980s, American academic Eldon Pike seeks out Flora's younger sister Eleanor to discover the truth about the end of the poet's life — she died in India soon after meeting Nirad. Eleanor, who married an Englishman she met at Flora's grave and became a staunch Tory, reveals little to the scholar, sending him off on a wild goose chase tracing Flora's path through India. But she is more welcoming to Nirad's son Anish, who also comes looking for answers. Eleanor shows Anish a painting by Nirad done partly in a classical Indian style, and partly in the style of Western realism. The painting's erotic symbolism convinces him that his father and Flora were lovers before she died.
The play shares with other Stoppard plays of the 90s the theme of nostalgia and romantic loss, with Flora as the lost beloved corresponding to Thomasina in Arcadia and Moses in The Invention of Love. And like those two plays, it cuts back and forth between characters in two time periods sharing the same set. Stoppard has given director Peter Wood partial credit for developing the structure of the play with its two intertwined storylines.