Steven Sater, writer and lyricist for the A.R.T.’s upcoming world premiere of Prometheus Bound, calls Prometheus “the first prisoner of conscience.” Legend has it that Prometheus, “forethought” in ancient Greek, defied the gods to save the fledgling human race from destruction. He bestowed upon humanity the knowledge of fire, of language, and of the arts of civilization. For this act of rebellion against the dictatorial rule of Zeus, the king of the gods, Prometheus was imprisoned for all eternity. Aeschylus’ 5th century BC drama Prometheus Bound, newly translated and adapted by Sater, might be “the most searing indictment of tyranny ever written.”
We’re fortunate to be working with Amnesty International, the global movement dedicated to protecting human rights, to integrate direct action into the production of Prometheus Bound. Letter writing, vigils, and protests to free prisoners of conscience around the world will be an integral part of the Prometheus experience. Even two thousand years later, Prometheus’ struggle against injustice remains sadly current.
This past Saturday, we had the wonderful opportunity to speak at the Amnesty International Northeast Regional Conference at BU. This year’s conference was notable for two (equally amazing) reasons. First, it marked 50 years of Amnesty’s unflagging struggle to end human rights abuse worldwide. Second, that very morning saw the release of one of Amnesty International’s highest profile cases—Aung San Suu Kyi, the voice for democracy in Burma who had been under house arrest for 15 years. The positive energy at this year’s conference was tremendous.
After an incredibly powerful keynote speech by former Zimbabwean prisoner of conscience Jestina Mukoko, the A.R.T. took the floor to share our vision of Prometheus Bound as a myth with real world implications. We reached out to the assembled activists to join their voices to Prometheus’ this spring and take part in a series of protests, vigils, and rallies at OBERON.
Our partnership with Amnesty has been eye-opening thus far. Direct action really works. Jestina Mukoko was abducted from her home in Harare, for allegedly investigating human rights abuse in Zimbabwe. She acknowledged that she was able to be in Boston on Saturday because of Amnesty International’s efforts to find her and free her. “When a human rights violation happens, those that perpetrated it expect to hear from us,” said Josh Rubinstein, Northeast Regional director, “We must not disappoint them.”
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to get involved in Prometheus Bound.