Skip navigation


Sex and Violence in Downtown NYC: Caligula Maximus by Jason Clark on March 22nd, 2010 at 9:50 am in Theater

Ryan Knowles (center) stars 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

Ryan Knowles (center) stars 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


A naked girl hula hoops and asks unsuspecting audience members if they will buy her some candy. There’s a naked male roller skater. A man gets lowered on stage by a great big giant gold dong. A live band performs Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” while patrons imbibe free beer from the lobby. And that’s just in the first 10 minutes of Caligula Maximus, a rowdy, rude, loud, and eventually wearying retelling of the legend, only this time with female bodybuilders, acrobats, and full-on dance numbers with a cast that is seemingly endless.

Playing the titular, self-created deity Caligula with a cheeky, pervy, party-boy hauteur not unlike Cabaret‘s furtive emcee, the brave, highly attention-catching Ryan Knowles lords over a most unruly evening, and your enjoyment of the show is probably most dependent on how anarchic your sensibilities are. This is down-and-dirty downtown theater of the crudest kind, which is highly commendable in this era of prefab junk-food theater and would be even more so if the whole enterprise (envisioned by Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Alfred Preisser and nightspot impresario Randy Weiner) didn’t feel so slickly disjointed.

There’s a lot going on in its 75 minutes (I haven’t even mentioned the wrestling bouts, the oyster lapped off of a woman’s vagina, or the gospel hoedown), and it’s great to see someone truly using the vast entirety of the wonderful Ellen Stewart Theater at La MaMa.

Click here to read the full article.

Click here for the CALIGULA MAXIMUS Articles Archive.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: