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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).

This is a
past event
“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 Headshot Square B&W
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, Aadam.
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.

#GuardsAtTheTaj @bushtheatre

Our latest review. #GuardsattheTaj @bushtheatre Did you see it? Did you agree? @Darren_Kuppan - Great body, right? https://t.co/myJiyUZ3xa
The Break A Leggers
@thebreakleggers
22 May
And thus ends #GuardsAtTheTaj, it's been an awesome run with @Darren_Kuppan at @bushtheatre. Big thanks and much lo… https://t.co/FKkVZ1J1Xf
Danny Ashok
@DannyAshok
20 May
Loved new transformation of @bushtheatre! #GuardsAtTheTaj a fantastic piece to reopen it. @DannyAshok & @Darren_Kuppan inhabit it perfectly
Christopher Mills
@chrismi1
21 May
Brave, very moving (& strangely intimate) performances by @Darren_Kuppan & @DannyAshok. Fantastic 1st visit 2 @bushtheatre! #GuardsAtTheTaj
A Tortoise in London
@tortoisehearted
21 May
And thus ends #GuardsAtTheTaj, it's been an awesome run with @Darren_Kuppan at @bushtheatre. Big thanks and much lo… https://t.co/FKkVZ1J1Xf
Danny Ashok
@DannyAshok
20 May
Last @LloydJamie #GuardsAtTheTaj @bushtheatre. Good performances by @Darren_Kuppan @DannyAshok marred by repeated smartphone use by audience
Darren Ross
@dazzaross
21 May

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