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Guards at the Taj - casting announced

Danny Ashok and Darren Kuppan. Photo credit: Marc Brenner.

Casting news

CASTING has been announced for the European premiere of Guards at the Taj. Written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph and directed by Jamie Lloyd, it runs at the Bush Theatre from April 12 (previews from April 7) to May 20, 2017.

Danny Ashok will play Humayun, with Darren Kuppan as Babur.

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.

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

It’s 1648. 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.

This darkly comic 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. It will now open the 2017 season at the Bush Theatre, following its major £4.3m capital project to revitalise the building.

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. His other television work includes The Five, Chasing Shadows and the BAFTA-winning The Dumping Ground. He has recently finished shooting the lead role in Finding Fatimah, directed by Oz Arshad, which will be released this spring.

Darren Kuppan most recently appeared on stage in The Tempest at Shakespeare’s Globe. His previous credits include Cymbeline (Shakespeare’s Globe), as Maneer Khan in East Is East (West End/UK Tour), An August Bank Holiday Lark (Northern Broadsides), England Street (Oxford Playhouse), Great Expectations (English Touring Theatre/Watford Palace), Rafta Rafta (Bolton Octagon/New Vic Stoke), the lead in Theatre Royal Stratford East’s Aladdin, Arabian Nights (New Vic Stoke) and Bollywood Jane (West Yorkshire Playhouse).

His television work includes Spooks and Britannia High.

Jamie Lloyd has directed many productions in the West End for The Jamie Lloyd Company, including Doctor Faustus, The Maids, The Homecoming, The Ruling Class (Evening Standard Award for Best Actor for James McAvoy), Macbeth (Olivier nomination for Best Revival), The Hothouse, Richard III and The Pride. He won the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical for Passion while he was Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse (2008 to 2011) and the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre for The Pride (Royal Court).

Rajiv Joseph became a Pulitzer Prize finalist (2010) for his Broadway play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, which starred Robin Williams in his Broadway debut. Joseph’s other plays include Gruesome Playground Injuries, Animals Out of Paper and All This Intimacy (Second Stage Theatre). His screen credits include seasons 3 and 4 of the TV series Nurse Jackie and he was the co-screenwriter of the film Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner.

Guards at the Taj is designed by Soutra Gilmour, with lighting design by Richard Howell, sound design and music composed by George Dennis and fight direction by Kate Waters.

Captioned performance: April 27 at 7.30pm.

Audio described performance: May 6 at 2.30pm.

Image: Danny Ashok and Darren Kuppan. Photo credit: Marc Brenner.

For more information or to book tickets, call 020 8743 5050 or visit www.bushtheatre.co.uk/.