San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
On the 21/03/2013, for one night only, the HUB Westminster will be transformed into the the religious courts of Athens for an interrogation of citizenship and democracy. In a courtroom surrounded by giant portraits of individuals from the modern age, Socrates will give his final defense speech and the audience will discuss the issues that his speech highlights in our own society.
Come, be heard and help us define citizenship for the 21st Century!
The Trial of Socrates portrays the final speech that Socrates gave to the Athenian public before his condemnation to death. Athens had been defeated in war. The oligarchs were conniving to seize power. Its citizens were hungry and exhausted. In a desperate attempt to restore order, leading democrats took the decision to prosecute the state's most prominent and public thinker. In his defence, Socrates questions the roles of rhetoric in policy-making, and religion in law-making, and stresses the importance of dissent to a healthy state.
These questions have not gone away. Socrates Now brings the performance to modern audiences so that they can reconsider these pressing issues and voice their own thoughts after the performance on citizenship in our times.
The performance will also be livestreamed to the world at: www.socratesnow.me
"The Trial of Socrates", is a monologue, the final defence speech that Socrates gave to the Athenian public before he was condemned to death. It was a terrible time in Athens as they had just been defeated in war. They were hungry and destitute and had suffered two attempts by oligarchies to seize power. The democratic fighters put Socrates to death as a way to silence dissent within the state even though he had spent his life in service of the state.
The performance aims to ask the question: "What should a state do for its citizens and what should a citizen do for their state?" We are concerned that government policy is being made too much around theory and economics and not enough around the people that it is looking to serve.
The play is being performed by the Emmy award winning Elleniko Theatre and has been put on in over 250 theatres to massive acclaim. The venue is the largest HUB for entrepreneurs and social projects in Europe. A short trailer is attached here which shows just how much the situation at Athens at that time reflects what is going on across the world today. The project is also supported by the international French artist JR who will provide 75 portraits of London citizens to surround the jury room through his inside out project and the play and discussion will be live-streamed over the internet to the whole world.
The real power of the play is questioning how we think about ourselves as individuals and as a society. After the performance there is a discussion led by the actor who plays Socrates. Its aim is to get people to think about their own lives and the lives of others in more depth - as Socrates said: "the unexamined life is not worth living". Thus far, all over the world people who have seen the play have been profoundly affected by the way it echoes into their own world.
When & Where
The New Society of Friends
“Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” Eugene Victor Debs
The New Society of Friends is an international research institute dedicated to developing a greater understanding of human issues. The institute supports the development of cultural, academic and entrepreneurial projects that give more insight into the hopes, fears and pleasures of people around the globe.
The institute operates around certain key principles:
1. Society is a cohesive unit: the actions of one individual cannot be separated from that of another.
2. If we understand each other as individual people it makes it much harder for us to prejudice each other or commit atrocities against one another.
3. We are now global citizens. Since our actions can have global impact, we must have global understanding of each other as human beings.
4. Global empathy and understanding are not beyond our reach, we just have decide to prize them over polarization and partisanship.
5. The future lies in a global society built from the rights and liberties of the individual.
6. Every human being must have a global voice.
7. Shared individual values must shape our global consciousness.
8. We must work for one another rather than just ourselves: mutuality is the only guarantee of true beneficence.