Emmy-award winning actor to perform Plato’s “Apology” tonight in Shafer

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Ion Simonides/THE CAMPUS
Tonight Theta Chi will host a performance of Plato’s classic work, “The Apology of Socrates,” in Shafer Auditorium at 8 p.m. The one-man production will be performed by Emmy-award winning Yannis Simonides, the father of Theta Chi brother Ion Simonides, ’14.

Yannis has performed “The Apology” over 200 times in venues all over the world, including the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Mexico, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Ukraine and, of course, Greece. In many countries, a translation of the work is necessary.

According to his son, Yannis is precise about the translations, which end up in a PowerPoint presentation that plays on a screen behind him while he performs.

Ion, who has seen the show at least 30 times, has done much of the technical work for his father’s performance since he was 14.

Whenever Ion accompanied his father to performances, he would receive complimentary plane tickets as the technical assistant for the show. Ion will also do the technical work for tonight’s performance.

Ion explained that his appreciation for his dad’s performance grew after actually reading the original text of “The Apology” in a philosophy class.

“The text is very boring and dry to analyze,” he said. “But my dad makes it really funny. There’s lots of humor, irony and sarcasm in the show. People expect to see a lecture, but that’s not what it is at all. It’s a performance.”

Yannis attended Yale for drama and served at Tish School of the Arts as director of the drama department at the age of 28. At the age of 30, he was offered tenure but turned it down to start up his own theatre company, The Greek Theatre of New York. Yannis won an Emmy for the collection of documentaries about Greece that he produced and directed in the 80s.

Yannis is traveling from New York City to perform at Allegheny today. He will remain in the States for three months, which, according to Ion, is a considerable length of time for him. Ion said the show has been successful at colleges and high schools across the nation.

Proceeds from the tickets to tonight’s performance ($3 for students; $7 for general public) will benefit the local branch of CHAPS (Crawford County Mental Health Awareness Program), Theta Chi’s philanthropy.