Guards at the Taj
Atlantic Theater Company
Linda Gross Theater
May 24, 2015
|Photo courtesy of Atlantic Theater Company|
Can there be only one most beautiful thing in the world? Can the creation of beauty become extinct? What is beauty? These are some of the thematic questions addressed by playwright Rajiv Joseph in Guards at the Taj now playing at Atlantic Theater Company. This play will make you laugh, and cringe… and ponder beauty.
Humayun and Babur, two of the Emperor’s guards at the Taj Mahal in 1648, are among the first to see the newly completed mausoleum at first light. They behold this MOST beautiful creation, a monument never to be exceeded in beauty. They then journey to a blood drenched dungeon, where they face their darkest nightmare and come out with different appreciations of the truth. Omar Metwally (Humayun) and Arian Moayed (Babur) each develops a unique and realistic character. Together they create a relatable bond of friendship and adventure.
|Arian Moayed, Rajiv Joseph, & Omar Metwally |
at the Taj Mahal (Agra, India)
Photo courtesy of Atlantic Theater Company
The script by Rajiv Joseph, well known for his BengalTiger at the Baghdad Zoo (a 2010 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), spans a broad range of topic as it focuses in on its main theme (the essence and creation of beauty) through the heartfelt comradery of the two characters. It is profoundly, yet simply, directed by Amy Morton.
The set is a brutal structure that weighs heavily on the space. Ingeniously designed by Timothy R. Mackabee, it is realistic, powerful, and alive. The moments of beauty the script refers to are illuminated by David Weiner’s amazing lighting. The brightness contrasts the heaviness of the set to create spectacular moments that stand out in the characters’ perspectives.
Guards at the Taj runs through June 28 at Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater. Put your thinking cap on and ponder the beauty of this piece of theatre.