The last in the Balagula’s Season 2011-12, “Caligula” by Albert Camus is the theatre’s return to the theme of “Existential and Absurd”. Though factually accurate and intellectually challenging, “Caligula”, according to Camus’ persistent denial, is neither a historical drama , nor a philosophical play. Rather, it is a “Myth of the Absurd”.
In the play Caligula, a “perfect” ruler, suffers the tragic loss that causes his “insanity” -- a lucid insight into the absurdity of life: “ The truth is that men die, and they are not happy.” Ordinary people discover Caligula’s truth all the time. Camus creates a world -- a myth -- in which ordinary people can imagine what might happen if they confronted the absurdity of life but rebelled against it from a position of absolute power. In Camus’ own words :” For the dramatist the passion for the impossible is just as valid a subject for study as avarice or adultery. Showing it in all its frenzy, illustrating the havoc it wreaks, bringing out its failure -- such was my intention.”
"Caligula marks a date in the French theatre… Camus writes with both grace and a moving accent, but his main contribution resides in his message. His aim is to distill hope from the heart of despair"….Harold Clurman, "The Moralist on Stage” New York Times