Yannis Simonides

The Apology of Socrates features a theatrical solo performance by the Emmy Award winner Yannis Simonides (Yale College '69, Yale Drama '72) and is directed by Broadway and television veteran Loukas Skipitaris. Oscar and Tony Award winner Theoni Vahliotis Aldredge is the costume designer, with percussive support by Caryn Heilman, a Paul Taylor veteran dancer-musician. The English translations are by Yannis Simonides and Loukas Skipitaris. This is a presentation of Elliniko Theatro in collaboration with Theatron Inc.

The Apology premiered in New York in 2003 and has since been performed to great acclaim at the United Nations, the Athens Agora, the NBC Today Show, and in theatres,festivals, schools, universities and libraries across the US, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, and the UK (where it recently completed a tour of Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities). In the last two years it has been presented at the European Center at Delphi, in Athens under the Akropolis, in Thessaloniki, Patras, and various festivals in the Aegean, in Greek and in English, as well as in Dubai and in Montevideo where it played to 2000 students from across Uruguay, in Greek and Spanish. Recently it enjoyed successful performances in Montreal and Luxembourg, and tours in the U.S., Greece, Spain, Germany and Russia are scheduled for 2009 and 2010. In September 2010 it will return to Columbia University to inaugurate the Core Curriculum for all Freshmen and Sophomores, as it is scheduled to do on a bi-annual basis since 2006. A limited Off Broadway run is contemplated, along with a publication of the performance text, in Ancient Greek and in English.

The Apology of Socrates is a delightful and quite humorous dramatization of the famous philosopher\'s defense while on trial for his life in Athens, ancient Greece. In the Apology, reported to us by Socrates\' student, Plato, the wise man of Athens firmly defends himself rather than apologizing in the contemporary sense against politically motivated accusations of not believing in the gods of the state, and of corrupting the Athenian youth. Based on Socrates\' beliefs, goodness depends mainly on the quality of our understanding of what to care about, and how to behave in our lives. The main principles of the Socratic discourse have had a significant influence on philosophy, politics, sociology and ethics in the Western World.

The Apology professes to be a record of the actual speech that Socrates delivered in his own defense at the trial (399 BC). This makes the question of its historical accuracy more acute than in the rest of the Platonic dialogues in which the conversations themselves are mostly fictional and the question of accuracy is concerned only with how far the theories that Socrates is represented as expressing were those of the historical Socrates. Here, however, we are dealing with a speech that Socrates made as a matter of history. How far is Plato\'s account accurate?

We should always remember that the ancients did not expect historical accuracy in the way we do. On the other hand, Plato makes it clear that he was present at the trial. Moreover, if, as is generally believed, the Apology was written not long after the event, many Athenians would remember the actual speech, and it would be a poor way to vindicate the Master, which is the obvious intent, to put a completely different speech into his mouth. Some liberties could no doubt be allowed, but the main arguments and the general tone of the defense must surely be faithful to the original. The beauty of language and style is certainly Plato\'s, but the serene spiritual and moral beauty of character belongs to Socrates. It is a powerful combination.

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