About the project
Prometheus in Prison
Dramatic Reading of Prometheus Bound, by Aeschylus
Translated and Directed by Bryan Doerries
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.
Caregiving & DeathThe Nurse Antigone
A groundbreaking project by and for nurses, The Nurse Antigone presents dramatic readings of Sophocles’ Antigone on Zoom—featuring professional actors and a chorus of frontline nurses—to help frame powerful, guided discussions about the unique challenges faced by nurses before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pandemic & Climate CrisisThe Oedipus Project
The Oedipus Project presents acclaimed actors reading scenes from Sophocles’ Oedipus the King as a catalyst for powerful, constructive, global conversations about the climate crisis, ecological disaster, environmental justice, and healing online conversations about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon diverse communities throughout the world. Sophocles’ ancient play, first performed in 429 BC, just after the first wave of a plague that killed nearly one-third of the Athenian population, is a story of arrogant leadership, ignored prophecy, intergenerational curses, and a pestilence and ecological collapse that ravages the archaic city of Thebes. Seen through this lens, Oedipus the King appears to have been a powerful tool for helping Athenians communalize trauma and loss, while interrogating their own complicit role in the suffering, not just of those around them but of generations to come.
Addiction & Substance AbuseThe Dionysus Project
The Dionysus Project is an innovative public health project that presents readings of scenes from Euripides' Bacchae, an ancient Greek play about the destructive power of intoxication, as a catalyst for town hall discussions about the impact of substance abuse and addiction upon individuals, families, and communities. The project uses an ancient Greek tragedy, written nearly 2500 years ago, to engage audiences in crucial discussions about the timelessness of the human struggle with substance abuse and addiction, as well as resources and solutions that communities can utilize today.