Guards at the Taj_header
National Theatre of Parramatta

Guards at the Taj

by Rajiv Joseph

An award-winning playwright; a critically acclaimed directorial debut. Guards at the Taj centres around the friendship of two imperial guards and their conflicting loyalties when ordered to perform a horrendous task. This intelligent new work questions the cost of beauty, power and injustice, and autocracy and resistance.

Photo credit: Noni Carroll

The black-humoured banter of Waiting for Godot, the bloodiest deeds of Greek tragedy… It’s not just that directorial debuts don’t come any stronger than this, few productions of any sort do. ★★★★½

John Shand, The Sydney Morning Herald


What happens to a life-long friendship when two ordinary men are ordered to do the unthinkable? 

At the grand opening of the Taj Mahal, the most beautiful building in the world, the Emperor decrees that nothing more beautiful shall ever be built again. To ensure this, he orders two imperial guards to perform a horrendous task.  

The guards are best friends. Humayun is a loyal civil servant with complete trust in the authorities, while Babur is a dreamer, and deeply distressed by the order that has been bestowed upon them. He plans a revenge that will put these two best friends at odds.  

Featuring a heartbreakingly funny friendship put to the ultimate test and existential banter reminiscent of Beckett and Stoppard, Guards at the Taj mixes witty black comedy with the bloodiest deeds of Greek tragedy. 

"...touching, funny and potent.... a captivating exploration of how far friendship can be pushed and the tension between duty and humanity." City Hub

I have long had a conflicted relationship with authority: the pressure to follow rules versus the urge to shift the status quo. Each time we exercise our power or allow it to be exercised upon us there’s an impact, even on relationships with our closest mates. It’s time to wash the blood out of our eyes and remember that no person is an island.
- Bali Padda

Guards at the Taj


September - October 2024

Director Bali Padda
Set & Costume Designer James Browne
Composer & Sound Designer Me-Lee Hay
Lighting Designer Kate Baldwin

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