Guards at the Taj launches season at £4.3m improved Bush Theatre

Danny Ashok and Darren Kuppan will star in the European premiere of Guards at the Taj, written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph and directed by Jamie Lloyd.

Ashok (Disgraced, Bush Theatre; Capital, BBC) will play Humayun and Kuppan (East is East, West End/ UK Tour) will play Babur in this darkly comic play which opens the 2017 season at the Bush Theatre, following its major £4.3m refit.

Guards at the Taj takes an enduring legend about the Taj Mahal and prompts audiences to explore questions about art, privilege and duty.

The play premiered at the Atlantic Theater in New York in 2015 and is the recipient of both the Obie Award for Best New American Play and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play.

“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.”

It’s 1648 in Agra, India. Imperial guards 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.

Danny Ashok’s credits at the Bush Theatre include the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Disgraced, which transferred to Broadway and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play.

Most recently at the Bush he appeared in Zaida and Aadam, part of last season’s This Place We Know. Elsewhere his theatre credits include The Djinns of Eidgah (Royal Court), Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 (Theatre Royal Bath) and Blood and Gifts (National Theatre).

He most recently appeared in the International Emmy Award-winning BBC Drama Capital. Further television work includes The Five, Chasing Shadows and the BAFTA-winning The Dumping Ground.

Darren Kuppan most recently appeared on stage in The Tempest (Shakespeare’s Globe).

Other theatre credits include Cymbeline (Shakespeare’s Globe), East Is East (West End/ UK Tour), An August Bank Holiday Lark (Northern Broadsides), Great Expectations (English Touring Theatre/ Watford Palace) and Rafta Rafta (Bolton Octagon/ New Vic Stoke).

Television work includes Spooks and Britannia High.

Guards at the Taj runs at the Bush Theatre from April 7 – May 20.

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