YEREVAN, Armenia – On October 20, the American University of Armenia (AUA) was happy to host the solo performance Socrates Now by renowned actor Yannis Simonides in Alex and Marie Manoogian Hall. Socrates Now is a theatrical presentation of the famous philosopher’s speech at the trial in which he is sentenced to death after being charged with corrupting the youth and not recognizing the gods of the state. The performance premiered in New York in 2004 and has since been performed to great acclaim in over 450 theatres, festivals, companies, communities, public spaces, schools, libraries and universities worldwide.
The performance was attended by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Hellenic Republic to Armenia Nafsika Nancy Eva Vraila, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan in Armenia H.E. Mr. Eiji Taguchi, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the UK in Armenia H.E. Ms. Judith Margaret Farnworth, the RA Deputy Minister of Culture and AUA Adjunct Lecturer Dr. Nerses Ter-Vardanyan and others.
The event was co-organized by the Embassy of the Hellenic Republic to the Republic of Armenia, the RA Ministry of Culture, Elliniko Theatro and AUA to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Greece.
Ambassador Vraila addressed the audience, thanked AUA for the warm welcome and remarked that “It is no secret to anyone that the 25 years of recent relations between our two countries represent only a tiny fraction of a centuries-old and strong relationship of co-existence at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. We have lived side by side in two mighty empires, Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire, and afterwards we have shared similar joys, sufferings and struggles on our way to achieving national independence.”
Through Socrates’ eccentric personality, Simonides successfully conveyed the social and political messages of the performance, thus creating a unique work of art.
Simonides also combined the performance with interactive discussions, applying the well-known Socratic method, what he called ‘midwifery,’ implying his belief that he was helping others give birth to the wisdom within them.
A Q&A session followed the solo performance, during which the participants had an opportunity to ask questions, debate, as well as address various issues and the relevance of Socrates’ thought in modern times.
Following the performance, Simonides shared his thoughts about the event: “I have absolutely positive impressions from the moment I stepped in here. The support from AUA in embracing this event was amazing. The students also seemed very engaged in the performance. Even when I was being ironic, I felt they were with me.”
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.
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