Opened: 10 May 2006 Radnóti Theatre
Running Time: 1 hr 55 mins

"The world, as it is, is unbearable. Therefore, I need the moon, or happiness, or immortality, something which might be crazy, but is from another world," says Caligula, a young man blessed with a poetic character, who is at the same time the emperor of Rome and so the omnipotent ruler of the world. He can ruin, humiliate, or kill anyone who opposes him in any way. And so Caligula cooly pushes freedom to its ultimate extreme, as though examining how far he can go torturing his people and his fellow men. How long he can use bloody, homicidal malice to extinguish human weakness, the defencelessness that unceasingly accompanies human life, and human weakness itself?

Camus’s play is made up of scenes depicting increasingly insane human situations brought about by Caligula’s mad deeds as he strives for ever more absurd levels of freedom. The emperor’s dilemma becomes inescapable for the audience as well. How far can one proceed on the path to limitless freedom? How long we can allow someone absolute power? Written in 1944, this play is one of the most important works of 20th century literature. 

From the reviews

"Kornél Mundruczó finds the proper mode of surreal presentation down to the tiniest minutiae. Yet, in addition to the precise elaboration of every detail, his impressive pacing manages to unite the entire ambitious performance. Grotesque outbursts are followed by beautiful moments of lyricism. The projected points of light that symbolize the great starry firmament sweep across the walls, lending a sentimental background to the poetic phrases. Hit music fades in, its hidden associations magnifying the situation in an ineffable way. If needed, the actors start singing, making the theatricality even more credible." (


"Roland Rába’s Caligula could have just come over from the McDonald’s across the street to show us the vacuum he inhabits. It is a vacuum in which every normal, ordinary, average act is numb, flat, and senseless. Voice, colour, and body exist only in excess and extremes. Freedom – not in the sense Camus uses it, but in the everyday meaning – can only be defined by its lack or by its lack of borders. If nothing can be done and everything can be done, then from the point of view of actions, they are one and the same. In Mundruczó’s exciting, impertinently intelligent direction, this latter idea seems to motivate Caligula’s ambitions. The nothing, or the fullness is the Moon, must be acquired. If that cannot be attained, then everything else can." (Judit Csáki - Magyar Narancs)


"The frivolous and peculiar style of the drama bears the typical marks of its director, marks which slowly become part of a special style. During the performance, it draws on the foreheads of the spectators several question marks which remain there for days after seeing the show..." (Tamás Velkei -

Caligula - Roland RábaCaesonia - Kata WéberHelicon - Máté HaumannThe young Scipio - Gábor KaralyosChaerea - Zoltán SchneiderSenectus, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th patrician - Tamás MészárosLepidus - Ágnes Kovalik / Orsi TóthMereia - Tamás LengyelMucius, Wife of Mucius, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th poet - Virág Marjai
Márton Ágh
Sosa Juristovszky
Mátyás Erdély
Written by
Albert Camus
Hungarian translation
Endre Illés
Géza Morcsányi
Assistant director
Zsófia Tüű
Kornél Mundruczó
Performance of RADNÓTI THEATRE