Theater: Decline & Fall

Romulus (by Friedrich Duerrenmatt, adapted by Gore Vidal) promises, initially, to be a dramatic elegy, a dryly urbane fable of the organic decline and fall of a civilization. The hero Romulus (Cyril Ritchard) is the last Caesar of Rome. He is a former history professor ("I am what I used to teach") who married the previous emperor's daughter Julia (Cathleen Nesbitt), but the year is now A.D. 476 and the Goths have a rendezvous with his destiny. While his wife, daughter, generals and bureaucrats prate of "the international menace of Gothicism," Romulus sits amid the chipped columns and molting gold eagles...

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