The Trial and Death of Socrates
by Sebastian Baczkiewicz

Sebastian Baczkiewicz - The Trial and Death of Socrates

BBC Radio 3: Drama On 3

Broadcast: Sunday 10th February 2008 @ 8:00 p.m.

Joss Ackland stars as Socrates in this play for Drama On 3 which attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding the philosopher's death.

The trial and execution of Socrates in Athens in 399 BCE puzzles historians. Why, in a society enjoying more freedom and democracy than any the world had ever seen, would a 71-year-old philosopher be put to death for what he was teaching? The puzzle is all the greater because Socrates had taught without molestation all of his adult life. What could he have said or done that prompted a jury of 500 Athenians to send him to his death just a few years before he would have died naturally?

"The Trial and Death of Socrates" was devised by playwright Sebastian Baczkiewicz, who worked with a group of actors and two radio drama producers to workshop sections of Plato's texts and related material.

In the drama, Meletus, one of the accusers at Socrates's trial, is found dead in the Agora. Josias is instructed by General Thrasybulus to uncover the identity of the murderers. Initially, it appears that Meletus has been murdered as part of a feud between Socrates's supporters and the faction who wanted him brought to trial. But the investigation reveals how very thin the veneer of democracy is in the State which has only just emerged from a period of oligarchic rule. What kind of a democracy is this where a man may not speak his mind no matter how obtuse it may be?

With Joss Ackland [Socrates], Greg Hicks [Josias], Michael Feast [Thrasybulis], Tim McInnerny [Anytus], David Calder [Crito], Joseph Kloska [Meletus], Cait Davis [Xanthippe], Liza Sadovy [Almathea], Peter Marinker [Euthyphro], Trevor Allan Davies [Kastor], Ben Crowe [Lysander], Ben Onwukwe [Announcer], Chris Pavlo [Guard / Official], and Liz Sutherland [Woman].

Music was by Trevor Allan Davies and the script consultant was M. M. McCabe

Directed by Jeremy Mortimer

Produced by Steven Canny and Jeremy Mortimer

90 min.


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