It’s 1648 and two guards are working the dawn shift before the first light on the day the Taj Mahal is finally completed. They josh around with each other about their dreams and their ideas for inventions in a modern conversational tone. They are the lowest ranking guards who have the only position that looks away from the Taj. One of them learns that the King wishes to cut off the hands of everyone who worked on the Taj, so that nothing as beautiful could ever be built again. Who would have to carry out this horrific task? As the lowest ranking guards, it must be them, they surmise!
The acting in this production is fantastic as they both are very funny and also very dramatic. Omar Metwally plays Humayun who likes to play by the rules. He contrasts with Arian Moayed as Babur, the rebel. Their on stage chemistry is excellent as they portray best friends tackling some dramatic events. It helps that they are friends with a history of performing together including starring in Homebody/Kabul together at Steppenwolf in 2003. Also, they both won Obie Awards for the first run on Guards at the Taj at The Atlantic Theatre in New York in 2016. Interestingly, Rajiv Joseph wrote this play for the two of them with their inputs.
The scenic design by Tim Mackabee is impressive. Upon entering the theatre, the audience just sees Humayun standing guard in front of a wall. After the initial scene, the wall rises to reveal the second part of the stage in quite a shocking theatrical moment. It’s a key part of a thrilling roller coaster of an experience!
Get tickets now for Guards at the Taj through July 22nd!