1 THE APOLOGY PROJECT
2 The Greek Theatre of New York proudly presents: THE APOLOGY OF SOCRATES An international tour de force of Plato's timeless classic The Apology of Socrates features a theatrical solo performance by the Emmy Award winner Yannis Simonides, and is directed by Broadway and television veteran Loukas Skipitaris. Oscar and Tony Award winner Theoni Vahliotes Aldredge is the costume designer, with percussive support by Caryn Heilman, a Paul Taylor veteran dancer-musician. The performance is given in English or Modern Greek using translations by Yannis Simonides and Loukas Skipitaris, but can be presented in any country using an ingenious on-stage PowerPoint projection of the famous text in the language of the particular audience. The Apology of Socrates has been recently presented in Spanish in Montevideo, Uruguay and in French at the University of Strasburg, while translations of the text in Turkish, German, Russian, Polish and Arabic are currently being developed. The Apology of Socrates premiered in New York in 2004 and has since been performed to great acclaim at the United Nations, the Athens Ancient Agora, the NBC Today Show, and in over 200 theatres, festivals, schools, universities and libraries across the US, Canada, Uruguay, Greece, Cyprus, France, Luxembourg, Turkey, the United Emirates and the UK. Leading universities including Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Michigan, Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh have combined the performance with interactive seminars on Socratic ethics and how they apply to our world today, led by Yannis Simonides.
3 THE PERFORMANCE Take a seat in the court of ancient Athens as Socrates goes on trial for his life. Hear the philosopher face his accusers with his trademark wit, cutting logic, and the courage of his ideals. Consider his arguments on virtue, justice, politics, civic duty, love of life and hope in death, and draw your own judgement. Enjoy the post-performance opportunity to discuss with the actor the ramifications of your verdict. Think. Question. Change. The Apology of Socrates is a delightful and quite humorous dramatization of the famous philosopher s defence and his rebuttals to a guilty verdict and sentence to death. 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. Yannis Simonides channels the eccentric yet magnetic personality of Socrates and offers a profoundly social, political, but above all human work which captivates the audience with the humor, immediacy and simplicity of its theatrical rendition. "Restless, humorous, brilliant and fascinating." Odyssey Magazine, New York "A superhuman effort on the part of the actor in a splendid coordination of text, movement and speech." Luxembourger Wort, Luxembourg
4 RELEVANCE The Apology is considered to be among the most diachronically valid texts of Hellenic thought, and the principles in the Socratic discourse have had an indisputably decisive influence on philosophy, politics and law in the Western World. Socrates arguments throughout his Apology address questions of ethics, justice, civic duty, personal virtue and moral courage ever burning issues and values that transport the viewer from ancient times to our contemporary world, and in so doing reaffirm their relevance in the interdependent cultures of the 21st century. Due to its multilayered nature, this rendition of Plato s classic engages and captivates audiences with interests ranging from history, philosophy, literature and the performing arts, to business, law, government, science, religion and medicine. The questions raised are so profound and the strategies used for tackling them so richly suggestive and provocative that they inevitably stimulate zealous post-performance debates among audiences of all ages and backgrounds. "Our audience was deeply moved by the performance and our program of events was enhanced by arguably the best performance it has ever hosted since its inauguration. Its appeal to the audience fulfilled our mission, which is to focus, develop, and sustain research, teaching, and public education on Hellenism, with particular emphasis on the impact of ancient, medieval, and modern Hellenic civilization on contemporary society." Vassiliki Rapti, The Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, Lecturer in Modern Greek Studies "Yannis Simonides and Loukas Skipitaris gave us a sensitive reading of Plato's text in this exciting performance. They managed to turn the elusive Socratic character alive with immediacy, playful irony, and the dramatic depth that make the Apology an inexhaustible source of wisdom, as meaningful in our times as it was in fourth century Athens." Constance Tagopoulos, Professor of European Studies, Queens College, NY
5 At a time when Greece and a great part of the world is in profound social, political and financial crisis, at a time when the very foundations of contemporary society are challenged on a global level, Socrates thought appears more pertinent and patently applicable than ever. Beyond the potential of this project as an invaluable tool for Greece toward purposes of cultural diplomacy, The Apology of Socrates offers a unique opportunity for the audiences of the world to engage their demons fearlessly and creatively in a lifechanging yet highly entertaining theatrical exercise. We must be willing to live in a culture of questions, not one of ready answers. It s a more courageous approach. And it takes more time. But it s worth it. It serves us better in the long run as individuals and as a society, by giving us stronger foundations for our lives and for our world. This is the way, and Socrates way, through which we will ultimately achieve a culture of rightness, of higher values; of virtue. Yannis Simonides
6 WHO WE ARE Yannis Simonides (Actor) Born in Constantinople and raised in Athens, Yannis Simonides is a Yale Drama School trained actor/writer and Emmy-winning documentary producer. He has served as professor and chair of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Drama Department, as executive director of G.O.Telecom Productions, and as the managing director of Hellenic Public Radio - COSMOS FM in New York. He is the founder and director of the Greek Theatre of New York, and of Mythic Media International,, a performing arts lab. His performance work, past and ongoing, includes plays by Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Brecht, Kazantzakis, Theodorakis and others, along with solo and ensemble pieces culled from the writings of C.P. Cavafy, General Makriyannis, Nikolai Gogol and others. Yannis Simonides co-produced Mikis Theodorakis 75th Birthday Celebration at Lincoln Center with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and has narrated the PBS television specials Axion Esti, Visions of Greece and Return to the Homeland. He recently composed and directed 'Smyrne', a docudrama on the 1922 Asia Minor Catastrophe, which is scheduled to tour North America in As a founding member of the literary organization The Readers of Homer, he has helped stage marathon audience-participation readings/celebrations of the Iliad and Odyssey in dozens of languages in Greece, Turkey, USA, Egypt, Uruguay and beyond. Since 2004 he has performed the Apology of Socrates in hundreads of theaters, universities and schools worldwide. He has received the support of the American National Endowment for the Arts, The Greek Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs, The A. S. Onassis, I. Kostopoulos, S. Niarchos, M. Tsakos and A.G. Leventis, IBM, Time Warner and Mobil Foundations. In 2009, Yannis Simonides was declared Ambassador of Hellenism by the city of Athens for his lifelong service to Greek arts and letters worldwide. Loukas Skipitaris (director) Loukas N. Skipitaris studied acting with some of New York's leading teachers and earned a Masters in stage directing at Queens College NY. He made his Broadway acting debut in Ilya Darling with Melina Merkouri, and subsequently appeared in the original Broadway production of Zorba, directed by Harold Prince. Besides dozens of productions of Greek classics and plays by Anton Chekhov, Tennessee Williams, Neil Simon, Ira Levin, he directed the world premiere of the oratorio Erotocritos at Lincoln Center. He is the founder and director of The Acting Place as well as Theatron, Inc., a non-profit Greek American performing arts center in NYC.
7 Theoni Vahliotes Aldredge (Costume Designer) With over 150 stage productions, numerous ballets and several films to her credit, Theoni Vahliotes Aldredge ranks as one of the most prolific and successful costume designers of the 20th Century. Born and raised in Greece, she trained at the Goodman Theatre School and became a resident designer at Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival. With over 100 Broadway plays, feature films and television shows to her credit, Mrs. Aldredge was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1986 and has received one Oscar, three Tony Awards and the British Society of Film and Television Arts Award. She is the recipient of the New York City Liberty Medal and was honored with the Costume Guild Career Achievement Award. In addition, the Theatre Development Fund has presented her with the Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in Theatre, Film and Television. Caryn Heilman (Percussion) Caryn Heilman is a percussionist, vocalist and dancer with the World Music of Nana ensemble, which blends musical elements from around the world. A specialist in frame drums, she plays the daf, a Sufi drum from Kurdistan, and the tar. She has also founded her own dance company, LiquidBody, and is co-founder of Topia Arts Center, a green arts and education center in Adams, Massachusetts. Stephania Xydia (Management) Born in Greece and raised in Luxembourg, Stephania Xydia graduated with a first class Bachelor in Arts from Cambridge University and moved on to an MA in Cultural Policy and Management at City University, London. Fluent in five languages, she has extensive experience as a freelance performing arts manager in Greece, Luxembourg, UK, Spain and Uruguay, and specializes in Cultural Diplomacy projects. GREEK THEATRE OF NEW YORK The Greek Theatre of New York was founded in 1979, and it has since served Greek and English speaking audiences with acclaimed productions, nationally and internationally. The company has sought to approach the classical, medieval and contemporary Hellenic repertory with discipline, delight and occasional irreverence. Over the years GTNY has become known for its festivals of new plays, its solo and ensemble performances, its children theatre tours and its imaginative staging of Greek oratorios. Ellen Stewart of LaMama has praised it as one of her brightest children, and Melina Mercouri supported it as one of the most accomplished theatres of the Greek Diaspora.
9 1. American Theatre Magazine, USA
10 2. Odyssey Magazine, USA
11 3. Gulf News, Dubai, UΑΕ (6-page feature review)
13 4.Pankoaki Newspaper, Kos, Greece
14 5.Peloponissos Newspaper, Patras, Greece
15 29/05/2006 Απολογία Σωκράτη στο Ηράκλειο Μία εληππσζηαθή ζεαηξηθή παξάζηαζε ηεο Απνινγίαο ηνπ σθξάηε ζηελ αγγιηθή γιώζζα είραλ ηελ επθαηξία λα παξαθνινπζήζνπλ νη ζύλεδξνη ηνπ 1νπ Παγθόζκηνπ Φηινζνθηθνύ πλεδξίνπ αιιά θαη θάζε ελδηαθεξόκελνο. Ο εζνπνηόο Γηάλλεο ηκσλίδεο, πνπ δεη ζαξάληα ρξόληα ζηε Νέα Τόξθε, ν ζθελνζέηεο Λνπθάο θηπεηάξεο θαη ε Θεώλε Βαριηώηε - Οιληξηηδ πνπ επηκειήζεθε ηα θνζηνύκηα παξνπζίαζαλ έλα πςεινύ επηπέδνπ ζεαηξηθό απνηέιεζκα, πνπ θξάηεζε θαζεισκέλνπο ηνπο ζεαηέο. Η κνπζηθή ηνπ έξγνπ είλαη ηεο Caryn Heilman θαη ε παξαγσγή ησλ Theatron Α.Δ. θαη Mythic Media. Ο Γηάλλεο ηκσλίδεο γελλήζεθε ζηελ Κσλζηαληηλνύπνιε θαη κεγάισζε ζηελ Αζήλα. Απνθνίηεζε από ηε Γξακαηηθή ρνιή ηνπ Ο Γηάλλεο ηκσλίδεο ζην ξόιν ηνπ σθξάηε Παλεπηζηεκίνπ ηνπ Γέηι, όπνπ ζπνύδαζε εζνπνηία θαη ζελαξηνγξαθία, έρεη ηηκεζεί κε βξαβείν Emmy από ηελ Ακεξηθαληθή Αθαδεκία Σειενπηηθώλ Σερλώλ θαη Δπηζηεκώλ. Δρεη δηαηειέζεη θαζεγεηήο θαη πξόεδξνο ηνπ Σκήκαηνο Θεαηξνινγίαο ζηε ρνιή Tisch ηνπ Παλεπηζηεκίνπ ηεο Νέαο Τόξθεο, είλαη παξάιιεια εθηειεζηηθόο παξαγσγόο ησλ Διιελνξζόδνμσλ Σειεπηθνηλσληώλ θαη εθηειεζηηθόο δηεπζπληήο ηεο Διιεληθήο Γεκόζηαο Ραδηνθσλίαο - cosmos-fm ζηε Νέα Τόξθε. Δίλαη ηδξπηήο θαη δηεπζπληήο ηνπ Διιεληθνύ Θεάηξνπ Νέαο Τόξθεο θαη ελόο εξγαζηεξίνπ Γξακαηηθώλ Σερλώλ ηεο «Mythic Media International». Δρεη αλεβάζεη πνιιέο παξαζηάζεηο έξγσλ ησλ Δπξηπίδε, νθνθιή, Αξηζηνθάλε, έμπηξ, Μπξερη, Κνξξέ, Κακπαλέιιε θ.ιπ. Ο Λνπθάο Ν. θηπεηάξεο, κεηαλαζηεύνληαο ζηηο ΗΠΑ, ζπνύδαζε εζνπνηία θνληά ζε θνξπθαίνπο δαζθάινπο ηεο Νέαο Τόξθεο θαη απνθνίηεζε από ην Παλεπηζηήκν Hunter κε κάζηεξ ζθελνζεζίαο. Δρεη αλεβάζεη σο ζθελνζέηεο έξγα αξραίσλ θιαζηθώλ θαη ζύγρξνλσλ κεγάισλ ζπγγξαθέσλ. Τπήξμε ζθελνζέηεο ηεο παγθόζκηαο πξεκηέξαο ηνπ νξαηόξηνπ «Δξσηόθξηηνο» ζην Alice Tully Hall ηνπ Lincoln Center θ.ιπ. Eleftherotypia Newspaper, Athens, Greece
16 Dimokratiki Newspaper, Chios, Greece
17 6. Luxemburger Wort Newspaper, Luxembourg
18 7. Guía del Ocio Magazine, Montevideo, Uruguay
19 In 2011 The Apology of Socrates will be touring the world, with performances taking place in Europe, the USA, Canada, Latin America, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. For further information and bookings: Stephania Xydia Cultural Manager UK: GR: