SOCRATES. A Banquet in Prytaneion

Court drama

The trial of Socrates in ancient Athens took place 2412 years ago. The peoples jury of the democratic Athens found the hero of the Peloponnesian War and the teacher of many Athenian statesmen guilty. Socrates, who believed the law to be the highest word, emptied his chalice of poison without dispute. He became the epitome of a virtuous sage for years to come.

Socrates made his way to the theatre stage as a colourful character already in Aristophanes's Clouds. Apparently, Socrates was also the one who helped Euripides in his creative endeavours.  Even the oracle at Delphi called Socrates the wisest man on earth. 

Primarily, we of course know Socrates through his students Plato and Xenophon. Socrates has been the subject matter of countless publications and even now, something is said about him on a daily basis. Socrates believed that people held the power to look into the essence of things. „Know thyself!“ was the motto he lived by. He held the ability to differentiate between real knowledge and the illusory one as the only true human skill. 

But the relentless search for truth and putting men to test did not lead him to his desired result. As Nietzsche writes: a noble man will inevitably come across those checkpoints in life where he freezes in bewilderment. 

It seems quite certain that people have not changed very remarkably during those couple of thousands of years that separate us from the death of Socrates. The same questions keep rising up every day; the gods have metamorphosed and changed, but the belief in illusions among humans has not disappeared. 

A man of reason – where to find him? Among the members of his species that believe in idols, the man of reasons remains as rare as an albino dog. „In the name of the dog!“ - Socrates would swear. 

VAT Theatre's production on the trial of Socrates is an original play written in the form of an ancient court drama. 

*Prytaneion – a seat of the Prytaneis on the northern slope of the Acropolis. The symbolic centre of Athens where the eternal flame was kept.

Duration: 2h 30 minutes, one intermission
Premiere: December 11, 2013 in National Library Theatre Hall.

Photographer: Siim Vahur

Author and Director: Aare Toikka
Designers: Narelle Sissons (USA) and Pille Kose
Light Designer: Sander Põllu
Choreographer Marge Ehrenbusch
Starring: Raivo Trass
Cast: Katariina Unt, Katariina Ratasepp, Tanel Saar, Margo Teder and Ago Soots