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Press & general enquiries contact Joanna Godwin-Seidl
Tel.: 43(0) 699 12127679
With thanks to our sponsors: Demobrewery & FFAB
vienna theatre project leading team:
Asst Director: David Rodriguez-Yanez
Stage Manager: Leonard Mayer
Costumes: Laura Mitchell
Set Design: vienna theatre project
Set building: vienna theatre project
Sound FX: Dave Moskin
Lights: Stefan Rauchenwald
Poster/Flyer: Gernot Ottowitz
Poster Photography: Andrea Peller
Show Photos: Ine Gundersveen and Thomas Schluet
PR & Sponsorship: Joanna Godwin-Seidl
Film/trailers: Phil Moran/ FFAB
In House: Beate Platzgummer and team
GUARDS at the TAJ
By Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Joanna Godwin-Seidl & David Wurawa
Starring (from the UK): John Afzal & Diljohn Singh
26th April – 9th May 2018, 8pm
Theater Drachengasse Bar & Co
Fleischmarkt 22, 1010 Wien
Continental European Premiere in the Drachengasse
In the India of 1648, two Imperial Guards watch from their post as the sun rises for the first time on the newly-completed Taj Mahal. It's an event that shakes their respective worlds.
Humayun and Babur are forced to face some difficult truths about their position in society. No one is allowed to see the Taj before its completion, and no one should be able to build anything so beautiful ever again. So when they are ordered to perform an unthinkable task, the outcome forces them to question the concepts of friendship, beauty, and duty, and it changes them forever.
The dialogue is funny, riveting, endearing and simultaneously violently poetic. Joseph uses an urban myth to hold up a mirror to modern society and ask: What is the price of beauty? What can it mean to friendship, intellect, sanity, moral fibre? Is obeisance in all things obligatory? Or should we constantly question the status quo? He finally questions: How is it everyday people can feel obligated to do such extraordinary things?
A stunningly beautiful play.
“An engaging, intimate and briefly gory piece.” London Evening Standard
“Rajiv’s excellent play seizes on some potent philosophical issues.” Indepedent
“Mr. Joseph’s frisky, often funny dialogue freely indulges… the characters feel authentic, they speak as two young men of similar backgrounds might today." New York Times
ABOUT HUMAYUN - Diljohn Singh
Before moving to England to pursue his Degree in Acting from BSA, Diljohn was a professional Actor in India. To date he has been part of Music Videos, TV commercial, Docu Dramas and About Print Campaigns for various reputed brands which include big names like BMW, Toyota, American Express, Suzuki, Honda , TVS Apache, Coke, Sprite, Bare Denim, Pantaloons, Times of India, LO'real,Reliance Telecommunications, HCL computers etc
Film and Theatre credits include: CHILD OF THE DIVIDE- Manohar Lal/Badtmeez, - Tamasha Theater, GAUHAR JAAN: THE DATIA INCIDENT – GhettoTigers, MADE - Ali Target Theatre Company, MADE IN INDIA Tamasha Theatre, THE STATE WE’RE IN – Jay – Southwark Playhouse, THE LAST GOODBYE – Arjun - Empire Motion pictures, AGATHA RAISIN: THE WALKERS OF DEMPLEY- Khusan – Mammoth Screen, SANJAY & KARISHMA -Vicram Raj Singh - Padstar Productions.
ABOUT BABUR - John Afzal
John comes from Manchester, UK and studied acting at Bretton Hall. Theatre credits include: 2016; Billy, LUNA, Theatre Hullabaloo, Sarah Argent - Prince Henry, HIDE AND SEEK, Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah, Geoffrey Readman, Ensemble, TO WALK IN YOUR SHOES, RedBobble Theatre Company, Martha SimonCrumble, LAND OF LIGHTS, Oily Cart, Tim Webb2015, Ross, MACBETH, Tara Arts, Jatinder Verma: Gauhar/Amiran's Brother, Umrao: THE NOBLE COURTESAN, Asian Music Circuit, Vasilios Nicolas Arabos. 2014 Max, SONYA'S GARDEN, M6 Theatre Company, Dot Wood Mike, PRICE TAG, Red Earth Theatre, Amanda Wilde/Wendy Rouse.2013, Emil, EMIL AND THE DETECTIVES, Red Earth Theatre, Amanda Wilde/Wendy Rouse2012, Joe, NATIVITY , In Yer Face Theatre Company, Matt BrittonNaz, WRECKED, In Yer Face Theatre Company, Matt Britton.
FILM and TV credits include: Ali, THE QUEEN'S RETURN, Zemap Films, Michael Wray Film, Barman, AWAKE, Shooters Media, Nigel Adams . 2017 Neil, LOVE, LIES AND RECORDs, Rollem Ltd, Dominic leclerc, Murray, MOVING ON, LA Productions, Adrian Dunbar, both with the BBC.
ABOUT RAJIV JOSEPH - Rajiv Joseph is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and an award winning playwright. Rajiv has been called “daring, magnificent, and virtuosic” by the L.A. Times.
Rajiv Joseph wrote Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (a 2010 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), Huck and Holden, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Animals Out of Paper, The Monster at the Door, and The North Pool. He is the book-writer and co-lyricist for the upcoming musical, Fly, adapted from JM Barrie’s novel, Peter Pan. Rajiv Joseph received his BA in Creative Writing from Miami University and his MFA in Playwriting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa.
Rajiv has been awarded a United States Artists Grant, the Whiting Award, the Glickman Award, and the National Endowment for the Arts Outstanding New American Play grant. He is currently a writer on the Showtime television series Nurse Jackie.
Praise for Rajiv:
"Rajiv Joseph is an artist of original talent." —New York Times
“Joseph has an imaginative voice and uses it to express innovative ideas and the redemptive power of art and beauty.” —Backstage
Standing majestically on the banks of River Yamuna, the Taj Mahal is synonymous with love and romance. The name "Taj Mahal" was derived from the name of Shah Jahan's wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and means "Crown Palace". The purity of the white marble, the exquisite ornamentation, the precious gemstones used, and its picturesque location, all make a visit to the Taj Mahal amongst the most sought-after tours in the world.
However, until you know the love story behind the construction of the Taj Mahal, its beauty would not enliven in your heart and mind, and instead it would be just another beautiful building/monument. It is the love behind this outstanding monument that has givenit life.
At the break of dawn, when the first rays of the sun hit the dome of this epic monument, it radiates like a heavenly abode, cloaked in bright gold. Then at dusk, basking in the glory of the moon, it shines like a perfectly cut diamond, as though straight out of some magical tale, leaving the viewer awestruck by its sense of grandeur. Nothing short of an architectural marvel, no wonder it stands proud as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The rich beauty of this spectacle turns visceral when one hears the story behind it: The story of the Taj Mahal!
Taj Mahal, "the epitome of love", is a monument of immeasurable beauty. Its is beyond the scope of words. The thoughts that come to mind while looking at the Taj Mahal of Agra are not just its phenomenal beauty, but the immense love which was the reason for its construction. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had this monument constructed in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, with whom he fell in love at first sight. Ironically, the very first sight of the Taj Mahal, the epitome of love and romance, also leaves visitors mesmerized and perpetually enthralled.
Shah Jahan (Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram) was one of the most successful emperors of the Mughal Empire. He was the fifth Mughal ruler after Babur, Humayun, Akbar and Jahangir. After winning the war of succession following the demise of his father Jahangir, Shah Jahan ruled the empire for 30 years. During his reign the Mughal Empire thrived, making this the golden era. Though Shah Jahan was an able administrator and commander, he is best known for the construction of the Taj Mahal, which he built in the memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. In general, some of the best of Mughal architecture was constructed during his time. He is credited with constructing many beautiful monuments throughout the landscape of North India. Shah Jahan was also the founder of the city of Shahjahanabad, which later became Delhi. The exquisite ‘Peacock Throne’, which he had built for himself, is believed to be worth millions of dollars in modern terms. During his final days, he was held captive by his son Aurangzeb, who went on to succeed to the throne.
Director/Producer - Joanna GODWIN-SEIDL
The actress and director studied theatre in the United Kingdom. She has been running VIENNA THEATRE PROJECT since 2006. THE LAST FIVE YEARS was her solo musical debut at the Theater Drachengasse. German language theatre credits include directing MÄDCHEN MIT DEN SCHWEFELHÖLZERN (Ronacher Theater), HAUTNAH (Patrick Marber) for Theaterverein Vision (OFF Theater) and MORD IM MUSIKANTENBEISL (Asst. director - Theater Drachengasse). Recently acclaimed musicals include ORDINARY DAYS and TICK TICK..BOOM! She has a solid repertoire, often choosing plays with social & political content: PLENTY (VIS Theatre), DIRT (Theater am Petersplatz) and THE MEETING (Black History Month/Theater am Petersplatz) to name a few. In 2014 she directed the hit play TOPDOG/UNDERDOG, was pleased to receive rave reviews for her musical TITLE OF SHOW and starred in Sarah Kane’s 4.48 PSYCHOSIS. As an actor, she has starred in a number of shows from Ayckbourn to Coward and Shakespeare, in theatres such as Vienna’s English Theatre, the Kammeroper and Schönbrunner Schlosstheater. In 2015-2016 she directed the critically acclaimed shows DISGRACED, MARRY ME A LITTLE and THE INVISIBLE HAND. All her latest productions, including THE WHO & THE WHAT ( 2017, Theater Drachengasse) and BUILDING THE WALL were nominated "Tip of the Week" in the national press.”
Director - David Wurawa
is a professional and award nominated actor. He began his professional acting training/ tutelage with tutors from Neighborhood School of Theater (USA), Act UP (UK), The Actors Centre (UK), London Academy of Media, Film & Television (UK).
His ability to portray a spectrum of characters has gathered him rave reviews.David is a consummate professional who strives for excellence and growth in his craft. He has been described as professional, positive, proactive, creative and disciplined.
He starred and Co- produced NEW ORDER a Sci-fiction feature film Starring the legendary Franco Nero, Written and Director by Marco Rosson. David has an extensive and international body of work in Film, Television, Radio and Theatre. Most recently he was seen in the multi-award winning film AUSSTIEG RECHTS, the hit play/film LA PASADA and the new made for TV, start up series pilot WIENERLAND, as well as working on the SOKO crime series in Germany.
He is currently starring in WILKOMMEN BEI DEN HARTMANNS at the Akademie Theater, Vienna as well as focusing on a number of film projects - some being presented at the Cannes Film Festival.