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Sunday Arts Magazine

17 Jul 2022

Caligula

Arts, Performing Arts, Sunday Arts Magazine

Caligula

This July, Theatre Works and Burning House bring
Ancient Rome to life in CALIGULA, a wild cross
between MIDSOMMAR and AMERICAN PSYCHO in
this massive play. Twelve actors bring this anarchic,
volatile world to life in Melbourne’s professional
premiere, by a company that has been making a name for delivering high octane, intense adaptations of
classic plays.
“We work hard to get to the heart of the play – bringing the author’s intent to life for a contemporary
audience,” says director Robert Johnson. “This gives access to two and a half thousand years of imagery
and story-telling – our plays are dialogues between the living and the dead.”
The mad Emperor Caligula rules over Rome. People are murdered, robbed and hanged on a whim.
Caligula’s horse is the leader of government. Rome’s future is held hostage, reality itself is up for grabs and
there are ears everywhere. And Caligula is dressing up as the goddess of Love and singing about it.
On what drew Burning House to this work, Robert Johnson says, “CALIGULA was attractive because of
its sheer size and ambition – Caligula burns with such energy and life. He infected his whole world with a
crazy desire to live fully. Underneath the drag and the blood and the insanity, he was also a traumatised
child, and finding ways to realise this anarchic pageant of tyranny whilst honouring his trauma has been
deeply fulfilling – and it makes for very rich theatre.”
CALIGULA is an epic showdown between stoicism and nihilism in a play bursting with poetry, violence,
sadness and love. There will be blood. And glitter.

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