Reply to Jason 2

Bust of Socrates. 2nd century Roman copy from a 4th century BCE Greek original. Museo archeologico regionale di Palermo, Italy

Bust of Socrates. 2nd century Roman copy from a 4th century BCE Greek original. Museo archeologico regionale di Palermo, Italy

Hi Jason,

You have set yourself a difficult and most important challenge.

I watched your video a few more times.

The daimonion tells Socrates that his role is to help others (those you place in Tartarus) understand that they are dead and that they are chained to the world through ignorance.

Socrates then asks how he can wake them up.

His daimonion replies that he cannot, they must wake themselves up on their own and Socrates can only help them in the right direction.

The daimonion, after being questioned by Socrates, then asks him if he is not tired yet of having others tell him what he is.

It seems to me that the daimonion is pointing out that Socrates too does not know who he is, yet his purpose is to help others understand themselves.

I think you have to be clear on your perception of who (your) Socrates is, because that will be essential to the structure and direction of your play.

Do you think Socrates was motivated by the wish to help others/to teach others/to question and to share his love for questioning (the examined life)/to seek the truth and to share his love for it (again, the examined life)?

You have a most excellent motive in this – that others need to philosophise about their lives and their place in the world.

I share that belief.

When I was at college I did a performance piece in which I handed out sheets of A4 paper with a question mark in the middle with arrows either side of it pointing left and right, then sat on a chair in front of the ‘audience,’ and said nothing.

People waited for me to do or say something, neither of which I did.

I simply looked back at them.

Total silence…

Your challenge is to make your point(s) as strongly as possible to your audience.

To begin by having your Socrates and his daimonion walk conversing from the back to the stage is one way.

To begin by having them walk from the stage into the audience and perhaps among them might be another.

To have actors or not even actors but, even better, willing audience members positioned throughout the audience and call out questions to Socrates and have him respond, perhaps spot-lighting the questioners as they speak might be another.

Then turn the spot off, leaving the audience ‘in the dark’ again.

After a few times, no-one knows whether the person next to them might be the next to speak up…

I think every means to indicate to your audience their centrality to your play and to involve them in it should be explored.

It’s an excellent challenge you have set yourself.

All the best,

Phil

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