CALIGULATheatre of Nations, Moscow
Photo © Marius Nekrosius
The distinguished Lithuanian master Eimuntas Nekrošius (this is his second work with Russian actors) resorted to the classical play of the past century, the existential tragedy of Albert Camus about the cruel Roman emperor, not just to impress the audience with the topicality of the text and today’s political allusions. If anyone is interested, everything about the state is said with the set design – somewhere in the backyard there is a triumphal slate arch, a symbol of majesty and victories of the state, made of some cheap and easily crumbling material.
Mystic and visionary, Nekrošius stages Camus’ “Caligula” as a drama of self-destroying human consciousness, as the sublime experience of the finiteness of earthly existence in the absence of gods. In this production “Caligula” played by Evgeny Mironov is neither a lonely romantic who rises above the world, nor a play-acting tyrant reveling in his own power, but a deeply and sincerely suffering character making a destructive experiment primarily on himself. Caligula’s cruelty is also primarily aimed at himself – and almost all characters look at the protagonist as if in the mirror. The shatters of the broken mirror which the characters hold in their arms and which the protagonist ‘crashes against’ in the final are one of the most powerful metaphors of the production. However, as it is customary for Nekrošius’s works, this production is full of unforgettable poetical and philosophical images. And at the same time “Caligula” is perhaps one of the most ‘centripetal’ performances of the Lithuanian master.