Based on the book “The Last Days of Socrates” by Plato
Book, Music and Lyrics: Daniel A. Wolf
Orchestration and additional music: Ed Etkins
SOCRATES tells the story of the renowned Greek philosopher during the last days of his life. Though tragic at the end, SOCRATES is not without many lighthearted moments reflected in songs like After You Meet with Socrates, The Ities, Oh What a Joy to be Married to You, and This Great City.
A Prologue follows the overture. A speaker enters and recites ten of Socrates’ more famous sayings. The sayings are serious at first but gradually become more whimsical, ending with “Call no man unhappy until he is married.” The speaker exits and four grotesque figures enter. They are the Sophists. The Sophists taught skepticism in both morality and knowledge thus standing in direct conflict with Socrates’ more universal perspective. In Meet the Sophists they revel that nature did not endow them with “force for right” and, as Socrates enters, mock his insistence that each person take an honest appraisal of him or herself.
The Sophists exit and Socrates, now alone, tells the audience a story of how he came to realize that “I must indeed be the wisest man in the world” since he is able not only to perceive his own ignorance but can readily perceive the ignorance in others, an ability that, he adds, “has caused me no small problem.” Thus ends the Prologue.