About the project
Prometheus in Prison is an innovative public health project that presents readings of Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, an ancient Greek play about god who is imprisoned for stealing fire and giving it to humans, as a catalyst for powerful discussions about the challenges faced by individuals, families, and communities whose lives have been touched by the criminal justice system. For the past decade, this groundbreaking project has been used to open up healing dialogue in a variety of settings, including prisons, detention centers, and public venues throughout the country and the world.
About the play
Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus
Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound is a play about a god who is imprisoned for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to humans. The incarcerated Prometheus admits that he willfully committed a crime and is sentenced for his actions. He is placed in extreme isolation at the end of the earth for the rest of time. Over the course of the play, Prometheus is visited by a number of characters, including friends and family. Each of these characters attempts to impart advice upon Prometheus about how he can lessen his sentence and increase his chances of being released. Increasingly enraged by each exchange, Prometheus, over the course of the play, shuts down, refusing to accept help or advice from anyone, and spends the final moments of the play shaking his fist at the sky, willfully provoking a far worse punishment than isolation.
Addiction & Substance AbuseAddiction Performance Project
Designed to raise awareness about opiate addiction and alcohol abuse, the project is intended to promote dialogue about helping those who are struggling with addiction.
Caregiving & DeathTheater of War Frontline
Theater of War Frontline is an innovative project—developed by Theater of War Productions, the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Johns Hopkins Program in Arts, Humanities & Health—that presents dramatic readings by acclaimed actors of scenes from ancient Greek plays for audiences of frontline medical professionals to open up powerful dialogue about difficult subjects, fostering a sense of connection and promoting health-seeking behavior. By presenting ancient plays to doctors, nurses, EMTs, respiratory therapists, and the frontline community about emotionally-charged, ethically complex situations, Theater of War Frontline aims to create a brave space for open, candid dialogue and reflection, fostering compassion, a renewed sense of community, and positive action.
Natural DisasterThe Tohoku Project
The Tohoku Project: Sumidagawa presents powerful dramatic readings by professional actors of Sumidagawa, a Noh play from the early 15th Century that timelessly depicts the unique challenges faced by parents in the wake of unimaginable disaster. Each reading is followed by the responses of community panelists, culminating in a lively, facilitated audience discussion. This interactive event promotes healthy, constructive dialogue about the lasting impact of the Tohoku disaster upon individuals, families, and communities—fostering compassion, understanding, awareness, and positive action.