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Philosophy Speakers ALUMNI SERIES: William Lyons (Trinity College Dublin), "Philosophy, Drama and Philosophical Drama"

Date & Time:
March 11, 2016 | 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Social Sciences Tower, Room 1253

About the Talk

I should really entitle this talk “And now for something completely different”, as it will not be like the regular academic lectures or talks you are used to hearing.  Indeed it is not so much a case of talking as of “Showing, Not Saying”. I begin with some brief comments about how I came to be interested in writing what I call “theatre of thought” or philosophical drama. I shall then make some remarks about what are the possibilities of incarnating philosophy in drama without the result becoming intensely boring, and about how philosophical drama might serve as a form of philosophy “outreach”.  I intend to show three filmed extracts from some of my “theatre of thought” plays.  I will lead into each showing with some account of the philosophical themes embedded in the plays in question and some background to the particular scenes filmed.

The first short film is an extract from a film of the final dress rehearsal of the London premiere of “Socrates and his Clouds” in 2013 (text published by Oberon Books, 2013); the second is a specially filmed scene from “Wittgenstein – The Crooked Roads”, premiered in London in 2011 (text published by Methuen Drama – Bloomsbury, 2015); the third is a film of the Epilogue from the play “The Fir Tree and the Ivy”, about Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt, a play which has yet to be staged.  

About the Speaker

William Lyons (UCalgary MA 1968) is a former head of the Department of Philosophy and Professor of Moral Philosophy in the School of Mental and Moral Science at Trinity College Dublin.  He is now an Emeritus Fellow of Trinity College and a Member of the Royal Irish Academy.  He is the author of Gilbert Ryle (1980), Emotion (1980), The Disappearance of Introspection (1986), Approaches to Intentionality (1995), Matters of the Mind (2001), Socrates and His Clouds (2013), Wittgenstein - The Crooked Roads (2015) and editor of Modern Philosophy of Mind (1995).  He has also published numerous articles in leading academic journals.

Professor Lyons also has an interest in 'Theatre of Thought' drama. His play about Wittgenstein, 'The Crooked Roads of Genius' won the START Chapbooks play competition in 2005 and his play about Heidegger and Arendt, 'The Fir Tree and the Ivy', won the Eamon Keane Full Length Play award in 2006 (now translated into Italian as 'L'Edera e L'Abete'). He also has written an Aristophanic play about Socrates, entitled 'Socrates and His Clouds' (previously 'Nimbus Clouds').

The Premiere and subsequent performances of 'Wittgenstein – The Crooked Roads of Genius', directed by Nicholas Blackburn took place at the Riverside Studios, London, 18th April – 8th May 2011.

The Premiere and subsequent performances of 'Socrates and his Clouds', produced by the Meddlers Theatre Company and directed by Melina Theocharidou, took place at the Jermyn Street Theatre in central London, from 4th – 22nd June 2013.

L'Edera e l'Abete, the Italian translation of William Lyons' play, The Fir Tree and the Ivy, about Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger, has just won the Premio Colline di Torino (Testo Teatrale) for 2015. The translation is by Dr Alessio Frenda a recent graduate in Linguistics at TCD.

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