June 23, 2008 Press Contact: Steve Hatzai
For Immediate Release:
SOCRATES TO SPEAK AT FRANKLIN HALL
Will answer charges of impiety and corrupting the youth
The critically acclaimed Iron Age Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Waiting for the Ship from Delos: the Last Days of Socrates, by Steve Hatzai, as part of the 2008 Philly Fringe Festival.
Why would a 70 year old Athenian philosopher be brought to trial in 399 BCE for speaking his mind in a city that prides itself on its tolerance of free speech? Could Socrates have saved himself or did he intentionally bring about his own destruction? The play shifts between his trial at the Royal Stoa, where he defends himself against charges brought by his old enemies, and the jail cell where he awaits the return of the sacred ship from Delos and his eventual execution. While waiting, he is befriended by a young jailer, Lyntos, and is tempted by an offer from his lifelong friend, Crito. As he approaches death, he shares his thoughts on life and the afterlife, organized religion and living a moral life.
Iron Age returns to the Fringe with this play about the last days of Socrates, performing at The American Philosophical Society’s Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street in Old City, Philadelphia, on Sunday, August 31, at 5 & 7 PM; Thursday, September 4, at Noon, 6 & 8 PM; Saturday September 6, at 3, 6 & 8 PM; and finally Saturday, September 13, at 3, 6 & 8 PM. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased after August 18th by phone (215) 413-1318 or in person at the Fringe Box Office. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Socrates lived and spoke nearly 2,500 years ago but his ideas, as recorded by Plato, about good and evil, knowledge and wisdom, religion and politics still resonate today. What does it mean to be a good person? What makes life worth living? How can we behave morally in a time where the moral barometer fluctuates with the political climate? How do we evaluate the kind of life we have lived? Can an uneducated populace sustain a Democracy? Waiting for the Ship from Delos shows us the formidable, almost mythic Socrates as well as a more human, vulnerable man who has doubts and unanswered questions, too. The core ideas of the play and its classic sources do not preclude the dynamic theatricality of the production. Director John Doyle feels the play presents a compassionate and arrogant Socrates battling the foolish and connecting to the thoughtful. The audience is brought into the fold like a Greek version of a passion play and, as Socrates moves among them to present his defense, they become active participants in his trial.
Steve Hatzai has been involved in theater as an actor, director, technician, producer and educator in Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley and New York for over 40 years. A member pf Actors’ Equity, he has appeared locally with Iron Age, InterAct, Luna, People’s Light, Mum Puppettheatre, Hedgerow and Villanova theatres among others. The play was developed during 2007-08 with the help of Dr. James Pawelski of the University of Pennsylvania, Catherine “Cappy” Rush and her advanced playwriting class at the Wilma Theatre and members of the Philadelphia theatre community who helped with readings and suggestions.
Iron Age Theatre has been part of the Philadelphia theatre scene for over 15 years. Based at the Center Theatre in Norristown, they brought a multitude of plays to packed houses during previous Fringe Festivals including works ranging from the east coast premiere of the hilarious and irreverent Shakesploitation to Amiri Baraka’s intense Dutchman performed at the African American Museum and featured on the cover of Theatre Journal. Additionally, the Iron Age production of Howard Zinn’s Marx in Soho, first performed with The Interrogation of Nathan Hale at the 2004 Fringe festival, has gone on to tour the nation for the past four years in over 100 venues and is currently being made into a film with Bob Weick as Karl Marx. Weick will be portraying Socrates in this production.
Iron Age Theatre has received Barrymore nominations for Outstanding Ensemble in Terra Nova and Best Lead Actor in The Elephant Man. As City Paper’s Mark Cofta put it so eloquently: “Iron Age Theatre keeps defying the odds, producing quality plays with loving care.” In 1994, Iron Age helped open the historic Eastern State Penitentiary with the original play Tunnel which chronicled the infamous 1945 escape. During the next two years, Iron Age created site specific pieces to help raise funds for the crumbling old penitentiary and their “Haunted Cellblocks” were the precursor to the fabulously successful “Terror Behind the Walls” Halloween fright fest. They also produced the original “Bastille Day Spectacle” there, re-creating the events leading up to and including the storming of the Bastille and the tossing of Twinkies from the parapet.
Festival Information: The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe runs from August 29 - September 13, 2008. The Festival Box Office will open for phone [(215) 413-1318] and walk up sales [location TBA] in August 18th. Festival Guides, which the include dates, times, and venues for all performances for both Festivals, will be available mid-August at all Festival venues, and other locations throughout the city.
The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe were originally founded in 1997 as the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Today, the Live Arts Festival serves as a series of selected cutting-edge, boundary-breaking performing arts events, created by some of the most renowned contemporary artists from our region and around the world.
The Fringe serves as a collective home for artists bringing their work to audiences in every conceivable form - in traditional and untraditional venues, using new artistic forms and established ones, breaking rules or refining them.
For more information:
….about the play and Iron Age Theatre visit: www.ironagetheatre.org/delos
….about the Philly Fringe Festival visit www.liveartsandfringe.com