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With ‘Caligula,’ Alfred Preisser Offers a ‘Pleasureable Mess’
By Tom Penketh
March 19, 2010

Justine Joli as Caesonia and Ryan Knowles as Caligula with the cast of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS, directed by Alfred Preisser, at the Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 E. 4th St. in New York through April 10. Photo by Lia Chang

Justine Joli as Caesonia and Ryan Knowles as Caligula with the cast of Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner’s CALIGULA MAXIMUS, directed by Alfred Preisser, at the Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 E. 4th St. in New York through April 10. Photo by Lia Chang


Halfway through our interview, a lithe young woman approaches. “She’s a juggler,” Alfred Preisser tells me as she gets closer.

“I just wanted to run this by you,” she starts anxiously. She wants to know whether she can do a fire-eating bit in the show. “We probably won’t get fire permission,” she adds, “but… I haven’t gotten to eat fire in New York yet.”

“We’ll talk about it,” he reassures her, then looks sparks a satisfied smile. “See what I get to deal with!”

Preisser (pronounced “Pricer”) clearly relishes his work. The award-winning director first made a name for himself during nearly ten years at the Classical Theatre of Harlem, at which he served as co-founding artistic director (with Christopher McElroen).

With productions like “King Lear,” “The Trojan Women,” “Dream on Monkey Mountain,” ” Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe,” and the musical “Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death” (which won seven Audelco Awards, including Best Director), Preisser carved out a reputation for vibrant theatrical storytelling, which, he recently told an interviewer, is “a mix of rhetoric, dance and music, physicality and violence… It is about creating a direct connection between the actor, the story, and the audience all the time.”

Read the full article here.

Related Articles:
CALIGULA MAXIMUS Review Roundup
Click here for the CALIGULA MAXIMUS Articles Archive.

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