Theatre Student Kanika Vaish Directs 'Guards at the Taj' for SoHo Shakespeare Company

BY Amanda Breen, September 29, 2020

Theatre student Kanika Vaish directs Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj for SoHo Shakespeare Company. The show, which includes performances by Shahjehan Khan and Shawn Jain, will premiere on October 8, 2020. 


Guards at the Taj is a dark comedy about two men who are assigned to guard the Taj Mahal on the day of its unveiling. What follows is an existential crisis as the men grapple with their beliefs in God, in their empire, and in each other. 


Vaish is a playwright, author, actor, director, and comedian from New York. Her work explores “impressionable youth, nostalgia, modern love, intergenerational dynamics, and her Indian heritage, and she is passionate about creating work for queer, trans, and differently-abled artists and audiences of color.” 

At Wellesley College, Vaish directed Benghal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, also by Joseph, as well as another production of Guards at the Taj. She also acted in several Shakespeare productions during her time there. Her senior thesis Jet Lag, a collection of short stories, won the Charlotte Paul ’38 Memorial Prize for Creativity in a Collection of Short Fiction. 


Prior to enrolling at the School of the Arts, Vaish spent two years working at an international arbitration law firm in Washington, D.C., and her full-length play Charles B. Meyer v. The Government of Malaysia is based on her experience there. 


Vaish is also the co-founder of Fresh Lime Soda Productions, a contemporary South Asian theater ensemble based in NYC.

Guards at the Taj will be performed online on Facebook Live.