Simon Callow’s merciless Juvenalia
In the moral cesspool of imperial Rome, Decimus Junius Juvenalis stood out as a very angry man. Fortunately his rage was tempered with a ready wit, and he clearly enjoyed the absurdity of all he saw. His scathing Sixteen Satires are as compelling to read today as they must have been 2,000 years ago. Reading Juvenal’s coruscating observations in the brilliant 1963 translation by Peter Green inspired actor and director Simon Callow to create his one-man show, Juvenalia, which had its premiere at the Bush Theatre in London in 1976. With our new edition of The Sixteen Satires being published in just a few weeks, happily introduced by Simon, the chance to see him perform it on stage at London’s Riverside Studios couldn’t be missed. After this trial run, Simon is taking the show for a month-long residency at the Edinburgh Assembly Hall as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Click here for more information.
More scandalous than today’s raciest tabloid fodder, The Sixteen Satires shine a light on a world of sleazy politicos, male prostitutes, harridan wives and imbecilic aristocrats. Filthy, foul-mouthed, viciously funny and deeply politically incorrect, Juvenal’s rage is something to revel in. When it was written, this work couldn’t have been further from the tradition of hagiographic history the Romans were accustomed to. As a book (especially in our new edition) it is essential reading, but if you are in Edinburgh next month, take in Simon’s extraordinary performance. The fabulous contempt of a 2,000-year-old man comes alive in 70 breathtaking minutes.
Explore the new Folio edition of The Sixteen Satires here.