Friday, June 03, 2011

Ibsen's Emperor and Galilean

Henrik Ibsen’s 1873 play about Julian, Emperor and Galilean has been described as “bad history and bad theatre”. It is not that bad, but it is certainly not an easy play. Let's see what the National Theatre in London makes of it:

Live like Constantius, under Christ’s terror and judgement, or rule a land of light! Emperor, or Galilean, that’s your choice.

Charting the true odyssey of an astonishing man, Julian, as he struggles to find spiritual fulfilment and political pre-eminence, Ibsen’s lost masterpiece sweeps across Greece and the Middle-East from AD 351 covering 12 crucial years in the history of civilisation.

Oh Dionysus, pour your glory into the minds of men and fill their souls with rapture until rejoicing pours forth in dance and song! Life! Life!

Made Emperor, Julian attempts to abolish Christianity and restore the old gods. But met with fierce resistance, this great free-thinker become s a tyrant more hated than his brutal predecessor Constantius. And in arousing the Christians from their apathy he advances their cause, his life and death altering the course of history in stark opposition to his intent.

All I wanted was to return mankind to an age of joy. But maybe I’m living in the wrong time.

More at Bread and Circuses