Guards at the Taj

by Rajiv Joseph
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“If we hadn’t done our jobs tonight, we’d be hanging by our necks in the royal courtyard getting our eyes pecked out by the royal crows. So excuse me if I don’t wallow in some misbegotten guilt all night. Was it fucked up? Yes, it was. But I don’t have to feel terrible about it.”

Jamie Lloyd directs the European premiere of this wickedly funny award-winning play from Pulitzer Prize nominee Rajiv Joseph.

It’s 1648. Agra, India. Imperial guards and best mates Humayun and Babur keep watch as the final touches are put to the mighty Taj Mahal behind them. The emperor has decreed that no one, except the masons, labourers and slaves who exist within those walls, shall turn to look at the building until it is complete.

Now, as the building nears completion and the first light catches on the pure white domes behind them, the temptation to steal a glance at the most beautiful monument the world has ever seen grows stronger. But beauty has a price and Humayun and Babur are about to learn its true cost.

Guards at the Taj takes as its starting point an enduring legend and prompts contemporary audiences to revisit questions about art and privilege. The play premiered at the Atlantic Theater in New York to great acclaim in 2015 and is the recipient of both the Obie Award for Best New American Play and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play (2016).

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“A welcome reminder of Bush Theatre's magic”
Evening Standard
“a striking show”
Time Out
“Rajiv Joseph's excellent play seizes on some potent philosophical issues and gives them a terrific comic snap and a sense of the wounding beauteous wonder of the ineffable”
The Independent
“Raises potent questions about the human price paid throughout history for the caprices of the mighty.”
New York Times
“Striking original drama”
Variety
“An exquisite piece of writing … an unexpectedly moving experience.”
Hollywood Reporter
“skilfully woven”
Financial Times
“a fable for our own times”
WhatsOnStage
“packed with honour”
A Younger Theatre

Photo & video

Sound Design and Original Music
Director
Fight Director
Costume Supervisor
Playwright
Lighting Designer
Designer

Cast

Darren Kuppan
Darren Kuppan plays Babur. His theatre credits include Cymbeline (Shakespeare's Globe Theatre), The Tempest (Shakespeare's Globe Theatre), Cast The Light (Walk The Plank), East Is East (Trafalgar Studios & Tour), An August, Bank Holiday Lark (Northern Broadsides), Melody Loses Her Mojo (20 Stories High), England Street (Oxford Playhouse), Much Ado About Nothing (RSC), We Love You City Revival (Belgrade/Talking Birds), Great Expectations (ETT/Watford Palace), Christmas Carol (Library Theatre), Rafta Rafta (Bolton Octagon/New Vic Stoke), Aladdin (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Jamaica House (The Dukes Playhouses), Arabian Nights (New Vic Stoke) and Bollywood Jane (West Yorkshire Playhouse). Television includes Coronation Street, Spooks, Britannia High, Emmerdale and The Adam & Shelley Show.
Danny Ashok
Danny Ashok plays Humayun. Theatre includes Disgraced (Lyceum Theatre, Broadway), The Djinns of Eidgah (Royal Court Theatre), Disgraced (Bush Theatre), The Royal Duchess Superstore (The Barking Broadway), Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 (Theatre Royal Bath) and Blood & Gifts (National Theatre). TV includes Capital, The Five, Holby City,The Dumping GroundCasualtyCoronation StreetThe Tower and The Bill.  Films include: Love Actually, Four Lions, Perfume, The Wasp & The Caterpillar.

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FOH fun @bushtheatre #StrangeFruit Our group found it relatable, honest and moving calling it ‘the most accurate… https://t.co/QBEQYdVsAm
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19 Jul
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19 Jul
Just booked to go and see #Chiaroscuro @bushtheatre - having very much enjoyed @Winsome_Pinnock's play there earlie… https://t.co/ylAcHe0Ghg
Alison Baverstock
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19 Jul
Hilarious, modern, well acted (@SophieParrottCD) and the perfect length @_HighTide_ ‘s #RustThePlay @bushtheatrehttps://t.co/gyLWKn1BJV
Aaron Bennett
@_aaronbennett
18 Jul
Love love love #RustThePlay on at @bushtheatre now thanks to @_HighTide_ but it’ll be going to Edinburgh and Aldeburgh too! Highly recommend
A Jane
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18 Jul
Interval of #StrangeFruit @bushtheatre and I am mesmerized! How is this the first time I've been here?! Rah!… https://t.co/oUNXjGqLcf
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18 Jul

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