A.R.T. partners with Harvard Humanities Center, Cultural Agents, and Amnesty International on special programs surrounding Prometheus Bound

For immediate release February 25, 2011
Contact: Kati Mitchell  6170495-2669
Kati_mitchell@harvard.edu

A.R.T. partners with Harvard Humanities Center, Cultural Agents, and Amnesty International on special programs surrounding Prometheus Bound

Cambridge, MA — The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) has organized a number of endeavors in order to support the issues raised by its productions of Ajax and Prometheus Bound.  The collaboration with Theater of War during the run of Ajax has already been announced; Prometheus Bound presents new opportunities to focus on the issues of prisoners of conscience raised by the production.

 

1 – A Humanities Panel Discussion, moderated by Homi Bhabha, Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of English and American Literature and Language, and the Director of the Humanities Center; with Panelists Susannah Serkin, Deputy Director of Physicians for Human Rights; Steven Sater, writer and lyricist of Prometheus Bound, and Diane Paulus, director of Prometheus Bound, and A.R.T. Artistic Director.  The Panel takes place on Wednesday, March 2 at 5pm at the Loeb Drama Center. 

This panel discussion is free and open to the public.

 

2 – Amnesty International
The A.R.T., in partnership with Amnesty International, is dedicating Prometheus Bound to eight Amnesty actions to free prisoners of conscience.  The A.R.T. will be dedicating specific performances to prisoners of conscience around the world. Letters will be collected and opportunities to speak with Amnesty representatives. Community and student human rights organizations have been invited to join this initiative.

The cases to be covered in tandem with each performance are as follows:

 

February 25 - March 4 Jafar Panahi (Iran)
March 7 - 9: Dem. Republic of Congo (Mass rape as a weapon of war)
March 10 - 16: Dhondup Wangchen (China)
March 17 - 18: David Cato (Uganda)
March 21 - 23: Tran Quoc Hien & Doan Van Dien (Vietnam)
March 24 - 25: Norma Cruz (Guatemala)
March 28 - 29: Reggie Clemons (USA)
March 30 - 31: Nasrin Sotoudeh (Iran)

 

For further information go to
http://www.americanrepertorytheater.org/amnesty

 

3 - The A.R.T. has partnered with Cultural Agents, a Harvard-based non-profit dedicated to the intersection of the arts and civic dialogue, to design a series of workshops related to Prometheus Bound.  Cultural Agents’ workshops are unique, in that they challenge students to access difficult literary material by creating their own artistic responses to the work.

 

In preparation for the workshop series at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and Revere High School, A.R.T. literary staff created a Prometheus Bound "Toolkit" to be integrated into the curriculum at both schools.  The Toolkit contains a diverse array of material related to Prometheus Bound, including the full text of Aeschylus’ play and the first scene of Steven Sater’s adaptation; information on all the mythological figures that appear in the play; the context of Prometheus Bound’s first performance in Athens; the surviving fragments of the two other plays in the Prometheus trilogy; essays by Thoreau and Martin Luther King, Jr. on civil disobedience and information about Amnesty International’s work to combat worldwide injustice.  Attached to the toolkit are action sheets from Amnesty about current prisoners of conscience, to directly relate Prometheus’ plight to the world at large. 

 

To the high schools, A.R.T. staff brought a style of workshop from Cultural Agents called the "Paper Picker Press," in which students create their own books from recycled art supplies, old magazines, cardboard, etc.  Students fill their homemade books with the pieces they create during the workshop - for example, they write their own choral odes on the subjects of freedom, injustice and knowledge.  They also draw pictures of characters in the play that inspire them.   The final exercise in the workshop allows groups of students to compose a short performance piece inspired by their study of Prometheus Bound, in which they perform their choral odes.

 

When the workshop is finished, each student has been given a stake in Prometheus Bound.  Each holds, in their hands, their own personalized response to Prometheus’ cry against tyranny.  By approaching Aeschylus’ challenging language from the heart, and not only from the head, students acquire a profound and personal understanding of the play.

 

Revere High School will attend a regularly scheduled performance of Prometheus Bound on Friday, March 11th.  Cambridge Rindge and Latin will attend a special student matinee on Wednesday, March 16th; after the matinee, the students will have the opportunity to share the work they created in the workshops with members of the cast.

 

This pilot educational outreach program surrounding Prometheus Bound not only exposes high school students to great theater, but also teaches them to truly understand the work. They will understand Aeschylus’ language, through the creative analysis that the workshops provide.  And finally, they will understand the connection between this ancient drama and themselves.

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Release Date:
February 25, 2011
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