Major Nerdiness: I, Claudius Edition
Written by Bwog Staff
The past few Monday nights, in Hamilton 602, members of the classics department have been getting together to eat free pizza and watch the celebrated thirteen-hour BBC miniseries I, Claudius. Like the two popular Robert Graves novels on which it is based, the television programme chronicles the early Roman Empire from the point of view of Claudius, the stuttering, drooling laughingstock of the royal family who ultimately becomes emperor.
The production values of this 1976 show are pretty sketchy by today’s standards. Those weaned on Rome and Gladiator will balk at the grainy film stock, inert camerawork, and ill-advised brassy theme song. But the show’s strength was and is the all-star cast of British actors (Derek Jacobi, Siån Phillips, Patrick Stewart (with hair!)), who perform the whole thirteen hours as if it were one giant Shakespearian tragicomedohistory play. This week we watched John Hurt vamp it up in a threadbare blond wig as Caligula, the demented emperor who made his horse a senator; he gets assassinated for his trouble.
We’ve almost made it through the entire show, so next Monday will likely be your last chance to check out the debauched Roman action and eats lots of free food (I had five slices of Famiglia and two slices of Kitchenette cake).
But mainly I’m curious: do other departments have stuff like this? Do poli sci nerds hijack a room in Hamilton and watch Tanner ’88? Do Urban Studies majors make S’Mores and watch that eight-hour Andy Warhol movie of the Empire State Building? Or does classics stand apart in its nerdery? Let me know in the comments.