The new production at the Milwaukee Rep, “Guards at the Taj,” is less than 90 minutes long, but that’s enough time for the two-person show to cover plenty of ground. The play, which features two men standing guard of the Taj Mahal, is at turns funny, biting, thought-provoking and a little (sometimes a lot) bloody.
The play was written by award-winning playwright Rajiv Joseph and considers what happens when ordinary people are caught up in difficult circumstances with difficult demands of them.
"Dark comedies appeal to me so much because they're a mirror of actual life. In one day you can go through an emotional roller coaster of things that happened to you. You can be laughing one second ... and then you're grief stricken, and this play is very much like that," says actor Yousof Sultani.
Actor Owa’Aìs Azeem adds, "The play is so poetic, there's so much you can take with you. I still find moments while doing the play [and] make discoveries about humanity, about myself, about what beauty means to me, what does order mean to me?"
The Rep production stars Sultani and Azeem, who joined Lake Effect's Mitch Teich in the studio recently to discuss the nature of mixing humor with uncomfortable situations and such a long-standing legend of the Taj Mahal: