EllinikoTheatro is an international performing arts organization based in New York and Athens. Since its inception in 1979, it has sought to serve as an innovative carrier of cultural diplomacy, expanding the temporal, spatial and social boundaries of Hellenic Theatre.

Socrates Now

VIEW AND SHARE A FULL PRESENTATION OF THE PROJECT HERE: socrates-now-brochure-2017

"A revelation...Socrates Now should be required viewing for all my students." Nortwestern University Philosophy Professor, Richard Kraut

"A mutli-talented actor has set himself the decidedly idiosyncratic mission of proving the transcendent dramatic power of the ancient philosopher." American Theatre

"A superhuman effort on the part of the actor in a splendid coordination of text, movement and speech." Luxembourger Wort

  Actor / Director: Emmy Award Winner Yannis Simonides English Translation: Yannis Simonides & Loukas N. Skipitaris Greek Translation: Electra Andreadi Original direction / mask concept: Broadway Veteran Loukas N. Skipitaris Design: Oscar and Tony Award Winner Theoni Vahliotes Aldredge Production: EllinikoTheatro & visionary culture Socrates Now is an 80-minute solo performance, which captures the essence of Socratic ethics in an accessible and engaging manner. First presented by EllinikoTheatro in New York in 2004, it has since been performed to great acclaim at the United Nations, the Athens Agora, the NBC Today Show, and in over 440 venues the world over. Leading universities and secondary schools have combined this theatrical rendition of Plato’s Apology with interactive seminars on Socratic and Platonic thought, led by Yannis Simonides.

“The Apology is a literary and philosophical masterpiece. It offers a vivid portrait of Socrates and a riveting answer to the question at the heart of Greek philosophy: ‘How ought one to live?’ What we find in this text, in a nutshell, is this. At age 70, with a record as a combat veteran of the recently concluded Peloponnesian War to his credit, and a decades-long history as an unconventional and sometimes unpopular thinker who openly questioned the deeply felt moral convictions of reputedly wise men and repeatedly scrutinized traditional definitions of "virtue" and “the good life," Socrates faces a jury of 500 Athenian citizens as the defendant in a capital case. The charges against him: religious nonconformity and corrupting the youth. The prosecution—the team of Meletus, Anytus and Lykon—aims to silence him once and for all. In their view, his dissenting activities are harming the youth and risk the security of the state. To them, the volatile instability of post-war Athens amounts to a crisis that makes this matter urgent. Socrates responds with remarkable calm. He greets the court case as an opportunity to give a full, public account of his life's work and its enduring importance. With wit and brilliance, as well as seemingly little regard for how the verdict and sentencing might actually turn out, he explains himself and defends his alternative moral views.

Socrates Now follows Plato’s text closely. It starts out with Socrates reviewing the charges against him as well as the motives of his accusers. It includes his interpretations of the demands of piety and citizenship (referring to the oracle and his own self-understanding as a kind of gadfly). Midway through the performance Socrates reports the verdict: guilty. Immediately, in accordance with usual Athenian legal practice, the focus turns to the question of an appropriate punishment. Socrates acknowledges that the prosecution asks for death. He does not back down. He does not comply with the verdict. He will not cease and desist. Instead, he holds fast to the view that "the unexamined life is not worth living." After the death sentence is decided, Socrates addresses the jurors who voted to convict him and those who voted to acquit him separately, in turn. He closes by reflecting on death and the immortality of the soul.

Yannis Simonides’ singular performance of Plato’s Apology challenges audiences to find the story of Socrates a resource for serious critical thinking and courageous action today. An open discussion of these possibilities with the actor follows the performance. All are welcome to stay and be part of that conversation.”

(S. Sara Monoson, academic advisor to Socrates Now and dramaturg for EllinikoTheatro, is professor of political science and classics at Northwestern University in Chicago).

Socrates Now has been performed to over 100,000 people in 8 languages in 20 countries including the USA, Canada, Mexico, Uruguay, Greece, Cyprus, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Turkey, Egypt, the United Emirates, the UK, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and New Zealand. It has been filmed by National Geographic and presented as part of the PBS/NGS documentary series “The Greeks”. In 2017-18 it is scheduled to tour South Africa, Germany, Italy, Israel, Abu Dhabi, China, Japan, Greece and the USA, and surtitles in Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, German and Italian are in the works. Audio and video versions of the performance-discourse will be released in 2017.

Click here for a detailed list of past performances.