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About the project

Obi Abili Playing Hercules

Hercules

Dramatic Reading of Madness of Hercules, by Euripides

Translated and Directed by Bryan Doerries

Hercules is an innovative project that presents dramatic readings by acclaimed actors of scenes from Euripides’ Madness of Hercules—an ancient Greek tragedy about an unthinkable act of violence committed by an angry man with an invincible weapon—for audiences composed of concerned citizens, activists, students, and survivors and perpetrators of gun violence, in order to generate powerful dialogue between these communities, fostering compassion, understanding, awareness, and positive action.

When I was a perpetrator of violence, I had many different friends, but the one who stood out for me was the one who never turned his back on me, no matter what poor decision I made.
David Gaskin, Program Manager, Save Our Streets, Crown Heights, 2016
Crowd at Hercules in Red Hook Photo by Gregg Richards

About the play

  • Madness of Hercules by Euripides

    When the Greek hero Hercules returns to Thebes and finds his home occupied by a local tyrant, he goes on a rampage with his invincible bow, killing the men who have invaded his house and taken his family hostage. But in the heat of the battle, Hercules enters into a berserk rage and kills everyone in sight, including his wife and two young children, with his powerful weapon, mistaking them for enemies. When he comes back to his senses and takes in the horror of what he has done, Hercules contemplates suicide, but his close friend and fellow war veteran Theseus, stays by his side and offers unconditional support, encouraging him to share the burden of what he has done with his community. At its core, Euripides’ Madness of Hercules asks profound questions about how we should respond to unthinkable violence—as citizens, family members, friends, and neighbors—and how we can all work together to stop violence from occurring in our communities, before it’s too late.


Hercules Highlights

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Damian From The Red Hook Community Justice Center Speaks From The Audience At Hercules In Red Hook
Hercules

Damien Scott from the Red Hook Community Justice Center speaks at Hercules in Red Hook

Columbia Street, Red Hook Houses West / 2018

Crowed At Hercules In Brooklyn
Hercules

The crowd at the premiere of Hercules in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Public Library, Grand Army Plaza / 2016

01Hercules3 Superjumbo
Hercules

In Brooklyn, Hercules’ Battles Inspire Talk on Gun Violence

The New York Times / 2016

Audience Member Speaks At Hercules In Brooklyn
Hercules

Audience member speaks at Hercules in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Public Library, Grand Army Plaza / 2016

Dominic Dupont Facilitates At Hercules In Red Hook
Hercules

Dominic Dupont facilitates discusison at Hercules in Red Hook

Columbia Street, Red Hook Houses West / 2016

Ashanti At Hercules In Brooklyn
Hercules

Ashanti, who originated the role of the Chorus, in Hercules in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Public Library, Grand Army Plaza / 2016

Audience Member Speaks At Hercules In Red Hook Red Hook West And Red Hook East
Hercules

Audience Member speaks at Hercules in Red Hook

Columbia Street, Red Hook Houses West / 2018

Jeffery Wright Speaks At Hercules In Brooklyn
Hercules

Jeffery Wright, who originated the role of Hercules, speaks at Hercules in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Public Library, Grand Army Plaza / 2016

Theater Of War Van Dyke 2017 10 07 7
Hercules

NYPD Inspector Rafael Mascol, Commander of the 73rd Precinct, who played Hercules and Paul Giamatti, who played Theseus

Van Dyke Houses, Brownsville, Brooklyn / 2017

Theater Of War Van Dyke 2017 10 07 10
Hercules

Tiffany Murray of Save our Streets, Crown Heights, facilitates Hercules in Brownsville discussion

Van Dyke Houses, Brownsville, Brooklyn / 2017

Hercules

Hercules in Manhattan

The Greene Space WNYC & WQXR / 2018

Hercules

Actors perform anti-violence play, open dialogue about social climate

Louis H. Pink Houses / 2017

News 12 reports on Hercules in East New York at the Pink Houses. Watch the news segment.

Hercules In Staten Island
Hercules

Anti-violence summit talks racial, political divisions on Staten Island

SILive.com / 2018

SILIVE reports on Hercules in Staten Island. Read the article.

Hercules

Paul Giamatti joins NYC table read for dialogue on gun violence

Van Dyke Houses, Brownsville Brooklyn / 2017

NY1 reports on Hercules in Brownsville

Hercules In Brownsville Van Dyke
Hercules

Paul Giamatti, Chinasa Ogbuagu, Jumaane Williams to Perform in Anti-Gun Violence Play

Van Dyke Houses, Brownsville Brooklyn / 2017

BK reader reports on Hercules in Brownsville. Read the article.

Hercules In Arverne
Hercules

Theater Of War Drives Discussion About Violence

Arverne Queens / 2017

The Rockaway Wave reports on Hercules in Arverne. Read the article.

Hercules In The Bayview
Hercules

‘Hercules in the Bayview’ prompts tearful, earnest discussion

Hercules in the Bayview / 2017

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on Hercules in The Bayview. Read the article.

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