The Emperor and the Boy

Year of publication: 
Full length

At the time of its premiere in 1993, this surrealistic take on Biblical Roman history was both critically acclaimed, as well as highly controversial. Today, it remains just as shocking, outspoken, funny and fresh as it was when first performed. The play opens with Emperor Augustus dead, and no appointed successor to take his place. His wife Livia and her son Tiberius consider the issue around the dead emperor’s bed when a mysterious boy suddenly appears, claiming to be the son of God. As if to prove his point, the boy brings Augustus back to life. What follows is Augustus and Livia’s struggle to find a successor. In the course of their discussions, it becomes clear that the plans of the two differ greatly, and as a consequence Augustus’s only grandson Posthumus loses his life, as do the people’s favourite Germanicus and Augustus’s daughter Julia, her barren womb made fertile again by the boy who had awakened Augustus from his death. In the end, Augustus donates a plot of land to the Kingdom of God, creating Vatican as a sovereign state of its own. Following this act he dies again, expressing a wish not to be awakened again. Tiberius succeeds Augustus on the Roman throne, and as his first act oversees the deaths potential rivals. Meanwhile, the mysterious son of God has disappeared without a trace. (Tinfo/Sunklo)

Number of male actors: 11
Number of female actresses: 4
All role: 15
Adapted to summer theatre: 
Premiere in professional theatre: 
Premiere in amateur theatre : 
Other performances: 

The translation premiered at the University of Delaware, Newark, USA in 1993.