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Guards at the Taj

Written by Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Deborah Block
October 20, 2016 — November 13, 2016

Studio X - 1340 S. 13th Street, Philadelphia PA 19147

Featuring Anthony Mustafa Adair and Jenson Titus Lavallee

In 1648 India, two Imperial Guards watch from their post as the sun rises for the first time on the newly-completed Taj Mahal—an event that shakes their respective worlds. When they are ordered to perform an unthinkable task, the aftermath forces them to question the concepts of friendship, beauty, and duty, and changes them forever.

Anthony Mustafa Adair (Humayun) is thrilled to be working with Theatre Exile again! He is a Colorado native who moved to Philly in 2010 to pursue a BFA in Acting from the University of the Arts, and has since been happy to call this city home. Local credits include: The Invisible Hand (Theatre Exile), Disgraced (Philadelphia Theatre Company), PAY UP (Pig Iron Theatre Company – 2013 FringeArts revival), Director: Me First; an Auto-biographical Comedy about Dying by Jason Rosenberg (2015 Philadelphia FringeArts Festival). Endless thanks to Mom, Scott, and Ian. And to you- for supporting local theatre.

Jenson Titus Lavallee (Babur) is a theatre maker in Philly. As a recent graduate of The Pig Iron School he’s found a love for being an idiot. He’s a member of ARE YOU IN OUR HOUSE: a professional idiot company consisting of other Pig Iron Alum idiots. This is his first time with Theatre Exile and he is so very excited and grateful to be working with everyone. Love to Mom & Mamoo. www.jasonlavallee.com.

Deborah Block (Producing Artistic Director/Director) has been a consistent figure in the Philadelphia arts community for over 25 years as a dramaturg, producer, curator, choreographer, educator, and a director where she has worked on over 60 professional productions. In addition to Philadelphia, her work has been seen in New York, Los Angeles, and Alaska. She has received much recognition for her professional and educational work including receiving the Independence Fellowship in the Arts and the Albert Benzwie Award for playwriting. She is one of the founders of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe (now FringeArts) and was the program director for ten years. She received her MFA at Temple University. Deborah has been with Theatre Exile for 10 years and has directed Smoke, Red Speedo, Cock, The English Bride, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Iron, Hunter Gatherers, dark play or stories for boys, Roosters and collaborated on Hearts & Soles. Much love to Doug and Josh.

Jessica Darling (Stage Manager) This is Jess’ fourth season in Exile. She was the ASM here for over 2 years before becoming the ARA stage manager last winter. Over the summer she additionally became the production manager. Jess has also worked with FringeArts, Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, New Paradise Laboratories, Flashpoint, Shakespeare in Clark Park, Maples Repertory Theatre, and Mauckingbird Theatre Company. Many thanks and much love to everyone who put their talents into this show. For Benjamin & Joshua: the most beautiful living things that have ever existed.

Colin Mcilvaine (Set Design) Most recent design credits include: #TheRevolution (InterAct Theatre). Lights Rise on grace (Azuka Theatre), According to Goldman (Act 2 Playhouse). Colin’s recent assistant and associate design credits include: Futurity (Soho Rep/Ars Nova), Dr. Dog: Swamp is On (Pig Iron/Dr. Dog), Sunset 0639 (Ballet X). In addition to his freelance career, Colin is an adjunct lecturer at The University of the Arts and Temple University. B. A. University of Maryland; MFA Scenic Design Temple University. www.colinmcilvaine.com

Alison Roberts (Costume Design) is happy to design the first show of Theatre Exile’s 20th Anniversary season! Guards of the Taj is her 13th show with company- her first show was in 2006. She has a BA in Theatre Arts from Rowan University and an MFA in Costume Design and Technology from Illinois State University. She has been freelance designing in the Greater Philadelphia Area for the last fifteen years. She’s worked with the Arden Theatre Company, The National Constitution Center, Delaware Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre, 1812 Productions, and Philadelphia Young Playwrights. For more information check http://www.alisonrobertsdesign.com/.

Brad Pouliot (Sound Designer) is thrilled to be a part of this production! This is Brad’s first season at Theatre Exile as the season Audio Engineer and Designer of their first show Guards at the Taj! Past sound designs include UArts: Marie ChristineThe 39 StepsGodspell. 11th Hour: Kiss of the Spider Woman, Factory Girls, Big Fish, Big Red Sun. Assistant Sound Design Wilma: An Octaroon. As always, thanks to friends and family for their continued support. www.bpsounddesign.com

Drew Billiau (Lighting Design) Lighting designs include Red Eye to Havre de Grace at New York Theater Workshop; Zombie Strippers for NYMTF; Cherokee and Bootycandy at the Wilma Theater; Tea: A Mirror of Soul for Vancouver Opera; The Magic Flute for Pittsburgh Opera; Hound of the Baskervilles, The Train Driver, Hamlet and Henry V for The Lantern Theater; Opera Philadelphia’s La Boheme, Carmen, Turandot, Fidelio, Porgy and Bess and Madama ButterflySamsung CFS Booth for Fine Design Associates; Lucidity Suitcase’s Alias Ellis Mackenzie, The Melting Bridge, Flamingo Winnebago and Whale OpticsSmoke, Red Speedo, Cock, Iron, and The English Bride for Theatre Exile; New Paradise Laboratories’ Fatebook and Prom; Arden Theatre’s Charlotte’s Web, Frog and Toad and All My Sons; Ballet X’s Sunset, 0639 Hours, Beautiful Decay, Instant God, The Last Glass, Risk of Flight and Silt. Drew is the Technical Production Manager at Opera Philadelphia and an Associate Designer in the corporate lighting firm Fine Design.

Flora Vassar (Props Master) is a freelance stage manager and prop maker. She is also a proud member of the board of directors for The Resource Exchange, Philadelphia’s one and only creative reuse center. Recent prop credits include Exile’s Tommy and Me, Mrs. Warren’s Profession and 36 Views at the Lantern, I Am Not My Motherland with Orbiter 3, and the PAC’s He Who Gets Slapped. She stage manages the contemporary circus show Air Play, which most recently appeared at London’s Southbank Centre. Next up: ASM for 1812’s 16/17 season, props for the PAC’s All’s Well That Ends Well, and Air Play in Melbourne.


Rajiv Joseph

Rajiv Joseph’s play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo has been awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. Rajiv’s New York productions include Animals Out of Paper (Second Stage Theatre, summer 2008), The Leopard and the Fox (AlterEgo, fall 2007), Huck & Holden (Cherry Lane Theatre, 2006), and All This Intimacy (Second Stage Theatre, 2006). In Los Angeles Huck & Holden was produced by The Black Dahlia Theatre in 2006. Through the Lark Play Development Center, Rajiv has traveled to Mexico and Romania, where Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was translated into Spanish and Romanian, respectively, and performed in staged readings. Rajiv has been awarded the Paula Vogel Award by the Vineyard Theatre and the 2009 Kesselring Fellowhsip. Rajiv is a Founding Member of the new New York based theatre company The Fire Department and was a contributing writer on their first two theatrical events, Speakeasy and At War: American Playwrights Respond to the War in Iraq. He is a former Lark Playwriting Fellow and Dramatists Guild Fellow. His plays have been published by Samuel French, Dramatists Play Service, and Smith & Kraus. He received his B.A. in Creative Writing from Miami University and his M.F.A. in Playwriting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and he is currently a Language Lecturer at NYU with the School of Art and Public Policy and the Expository Writing Program. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa.