published 7.31.2018

Announcing "Speaking Truth to Power"

For Immediate Release 

July 31, 2018 

BAM and Onassis Cultural Center New York present Speaking Truth to Power—a series of theater productions, talks, and film screenings that examine the power of speech and the role of resistance

––As part of the 2018 Next Wave Festival, BAM and Onassis Cultural Center New York will present Speaking Truth to Power, a fall series of theater productions, conversations, and film screenings that explores the concept of free speech as a form of resistance, and examines the challenges facing individuals, societies, and movements that seek to employ it. While freedom of speech is considered a cornerstone of our democratic freedoms, ancient Greeks wrestled with the extent to which the power to speak freely could degrade the very institutions designed to protect that right. The debate about the role of truth––who is able to speak it and the potential dangers posed to our society when it is either permitted or restricted––rages on. 

Anthony S. Papadimitriou, President and Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Onassis Foundation, said, “It is the duty of every citizen, as it is ours at the Onassis Foundation––which exists for the benefit of the public and, beyond Greek art and ideas, promotes social welfare in all its forms––to defend truth and keep it alive through dialogue and culture. It may prove the best defense we have against letting our societies sink into oblivion. We hope that our collaboration with BAM in Speaking Truth to Power highlights this responsibility and its urgency today more than ever before.” 

This robust series comprises two theater productions; four humanities programs; a four-part film series; a conversation and film event; a visual art installation; and an exhibition of materials from the BAM Hamm Archives. 

Theater Programming 

The Bacchae 

By Euripides 

Translation by Aaron Poochigian 

Directed by Anne Bogart 

Created and performed by SITI Company 

Set and lighting design by Brian H Scott 

Costume design by Eleni Kyriacou 

Sound design by Darron L West 

Composed by Erik Sanko 

BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton Street) 

Oct 3—6 at 7:30pm, Oct 7 at 3pm 

Tickets start at $30 

Packed with striking scenes, frenzied emotion, and choral songs of great power and beauty, The Bacchae is considered to be one of Euripides’ greatest surviving works. Dionysus, the god of wine, ritual madness, fertility, and theater, returns in disguise to his birthplace in Greece. As revenge for a personal slight, Dionysus plans to spread his cult among the people of Thebes. His adversary, King Pentheus, imprisons Dionysus in order to suppress his influence and the spreading disorder of his followers. This misguided attempt to thwart the will of a god leads to catastrophe for Pentheus and his entire family. With a new translation by Aaron Poochigian, Anne Bogart and her groundbreaking SITI Company present the play as a modern reminder: if we don’t respect the inherent wildness of humanity, we may fall prey to the tyranny of excessive order or to the frenzy of collective passion. 


Scottish Opera/Opera Ventures 

Libretto by Steven Berkoff from his play Greek 

Adapted by Mark-Anthony Turnage and Jonathan Moore 

Composed by Mark-Anthony Turnage 

Conducted by Stuart Stratford 

Directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins 

Associate Director Daisy Evans 

Set design by Johannes Schűtz 

Costume design by Alex Lowde 

Lighting design by Matthew Richardson 

Video design by Dick Straker 

Movement by Jenny Ogilvie 

Dramaturgy by Caroline Steinbeis 

Soloists from The Orchestra of Scottish Opera 

In English with English titles 

Co-produced by Opera Ventures and Scottish Opera 

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave) 

Dec 5, 6 & 8 at 7:30pm; Dec 9 at 3pm 

Tickets start at $35 

Mark-Anthony Turnage’s groundbreaking and profane 1988 two-act opera, Greek, is now a cult classic in the modern chamber opera repertoire. Composed and set in Britain’s Thatcher era, and based on the in-your-face stage play by Steven Berkoff, Greek’s bleak humor and exploration of social and political unrest continue to resonate. Scottish Opera/Opera Ventures’ acclaimed new production is presented in its New York premiere, and the engagement also marks the New York premiere of the opera. 

Greek is a retelling of Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus Rex , set in cockney-accented north London. An aimless young man, Eddy, longs for a better life away from his family. His father tells him of a fortune teller’s prophecy years earlier that Eddy would sleep with his mother and murder his father. Eddy storms off, disgusted, brawling his way across a turbulent city rife with strikes, gas rationing, violence, and plague. Following a row with police, Eddy escapes into a café, where he argues with the café manager and kills him. The distraught café manager’s wife falls in love with Eddy and they make a life together. She tells him of her young son who was lost in the Thames River years ago. Years later, Eddy’s parents find him and finally tell him how they rescued him from the river. Horrified, Eddy realizes the fortune teller’s prophecy has come true. 

Humanities Programming On Fear and Governance With Anne Bogart and Monica Youn 

In conversation with Corey Robin 

Co-presented by BAM and the Onassis Cultural Center New York 

Oct 5 at 6pm, BAM Fisher Hillman Studio (321 Ashland Pl) 

Price: $15; $7.50 for BAM members 

On Confronting Silence 

With Masha Gessen and Aja Monet 

In conversation with Amanda Foreman 

Co-presented by BAM and the Onassis Cultural Center New York 

Oct 20 at 6pm, BAM Fisher Hillman Studio (321 Ashland Pl) 

Price: $15; $7.50 for BAM members 

On the Force of Truth 

With asha bandele, Tilde Björfors, and Anand Giridharadas 

In conversation with Charles W. Mills 

Co-presented by BAM and the Onassis Cultural Center New York 

Nov 1 at 6pm, BAM Fisher Hillman Studio (321 Ashland Pl) 

Price: $15; $7.50 for BAM members 

On the Economics of Fatalism 

With Sarah Jaffe and Sanjay G. Reddy 

In conversation with Simon Critchley 

Co-presented by BAM and the Onassis Cultural Center New York 

Dec 8 at 6pm, BAM Fisher Hillman Studio (321 Ashland Pl) 

Price: $15; $7.50 for BAM members 

BAMcinématek Screenings

Ran (1985) Dir. Akira Kurosawa Oct 1 at 7pm, BAM Rose Cinemas The legendary Japanese director’s final film is a blistering, visually spectacular re-imagining of one of the greatest theatrical investigations of political power dynamics, Shakespeare’s King Lear

The Arbor (2011), Dir. Clio Barnard Oct 15 at 7pm, BAM Rose Cinemas This mesmerizing, endlessly inventive hybrid of documentary and fiction breathes life into the tragic story of Andrea Dunbar, the Bradford-born playwright who shot to fame with her raunchy, Thatcher-era satire Rita, Sue and Bob Too

Whose Streets? (2017) Dirs. Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis Oct 29 at 7pm, BAM Rose Cinemas Plunging the viewer onto the front lines of protest in Ferguson, Missouri in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s killing, this electrifying dispatch offers an urgent documentary portrait of contemporary activism in action. 

Taxi (2005), Dir. Jafar Panahi Dec 3 at 7pm, BAM Rose Cinemas Banned from making films by the Iranian government, director Jafar Panahi posed as a taxi driver to craft this resourceful, exceptionally moving, and quietly thrilling treatise on the myriad social challenges in his home country. 

Conversation and Film Then and Now: The Gospel at Colonus conversation + screening of The Book of Clarence 

With Lee Breuer, Sam Butler, and Bob Telson 

In conversation with Joseph V. Melillo 

Sept 12 at 7pm, BAM Rose Cinemas 

Tickets: $15; $7.50 for BAM members 

Theater director Lee Breuer; original cast member, musician and former member of the Blind Boys of Alabama, Sam Butler; and composer Bob Telson join BAM Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo in conversation about The Gospel at Colonus, originally performed in the BAM Harvey Theater during the first Next Wave Festival in 1983. Slated for a revival by the Public Theater at the Delacorte this September, the production tells the story of Oedipus at Colonus in the context of an African-American Pentecostal church service, with Oedipus performed by the current line-up of the Blind Boys of Alabama. The discussion will be followed by a screening of Book of Clarence , a feature-length documentary essay that follows the life of legendary, blind gospel singer and founding member of the Grammy award-winning Blind Boys of Alabama, Clarence Fountain. Fountain led the Blind Boys of Alabama for 60 years and together they originated the role as the musical manifestation of Oedipus in the original production of The Gospel at Colonus

Visual Art A.M.T.P. (A Mad Tea Party), 2018 

Ioanna Pantazopoulou 

Wood, stainless steel teapots, artificial palm tree, Rainbow static dusters, crystals, mixed media 

Dimensions Variable 

BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St) 

On view from September 13, 2018 – January 6, 2019 

The Onassis Cultural Center New York and BAM are pleased to present a new co-commissioned artwork by Brooklyn-based Greek artist Ioanna Pantazopoulou. Titled A.M.T.P. (A Mad Tea Party) , this sprawling hanging sculpture suspends from the ceiling as a topsy-turvy, upside-down tea party with cups and saucers on chairs, architectural teapot mountains, and colorful dusters and crystals under a life-size fake palm tree. Dining accouterments become undomesticated, while furniture is sliced like food. Dissected and reconfigured, very practical objects transform into the unworkable. Such deconstruction guards against the belief that the world is simple and can be known with certainty. In deconstructing material culture—a manifestation of capitalistic power—and embracing disorder, Ioanna’s work criticizes our often-tacit acceptance of excess and invites audiences to reinterpret our relationship to materialistic consumption that has become endemic in contemporary society. 

BAM Hamm Archives Exhibition 

Speaking Truth to Power at the Academy: In Their Own Words 

This exhibit explores the Academy as a forum for public discourse featuring remarkable thinkers and activists such as Frederick Douglass, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Paul Robeson, Angela Davis and many others. 

BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton Street) 

On view from September 13, 2018- January 6, 2019 

About Onassis Cultural Center New York The Onassis Cultural Center New York presents cultural programming for audiences of all ages to engage with art and ideas. Designed to be thought-provoking and entertaining, programs encourage audience interaction with celebrated artists and influential figures from the visual and performing arts, and the humanities. 

For press information, contact Sandy Sawotka,, 718.636.4190. 


Bloomberg Philanthropies is the Season Sponsor. 

The Bacchae and Greek are part of Speaking Truth to Power, Co-Presented by BAM and the Onassis Cultural Center New York. 

Leadership support for BAM Cinema programs provided by The Thompson Family Foundation. 

Time Warner Foundation is the Major Sponsor of BAMcinématek. 

Support for the Signature Artists Series provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation. 

Programming in the BAM Harvey Theater is endowed by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. 

Leadership support for opera at BAM provided by Aashish & Dinyar Devitre, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

Leadership support for music programs at BAM provided by the Baisley Powell Elebash Fund. 

Major support for opera at BAM provided by Sarah Billinghurst & Howard Solomon, and The Francena T. Harrison Foundation Trust.  

Major support for theater at BAM provided by The Achelis and Bodman Foundation; The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; The Francena T. Harrison Foundation Trust; The SHS Foundation; and The Shubert Foundation, Inc. 

Chubb is a Lead Sponsor of BAM. 

Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of BAM. 

The Brooklyn Hospital Center is the Official Healthcare Provider of BAM. 

BAM 2018 Next Wave Festival supporters: The Achelis and Bodman Foundation; Rose M. Badgeley Residuary Charitable Trust; Sarah Billinghurst & Howard Solomon; brigittenyc; Citi Foundation; Con Edison; The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; Epstein Teicher Philanthropies; The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; The Francena T. Harrison Foundation Trust; The Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation; The Kovner Foundation; The Ambrose Monell Foundation; Henry and Lucy Moses Fund, Inc.; National Grid; Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Inc.; Donald A. Pels Charitable Foundation; The Reed Foundation; The Jerome Robbins Foundation, Inc.; The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund; The Scherman Foundation, Inc.; The SHS Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; Starry Night Fund; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; and Viacom. 

BAM Rose Cinemas are named in recognition of a major gift in honor of Jonathan F.P. and Diana Calthorpe Rose. BAM Rose Cinemas would also like to acknowledge the generous support of The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, The Estate of Richard B. Fisher, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, and Bloomberg. Additional support for BAMcinématek is provided by The Grodzins Fund, and the Julian Price Family Foundation. 

Your tax dollars make BAM programs possible through funding from the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The BAM Next Wave Festival is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The BAM facilities are owned by the City of New York and benefit from public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs with support from Mayor Bill de Blasio; Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl; the New York City Council including Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Finance Committee Chair Daniel Dromm, Cultural Affairs Committee Chair Jimmy Van Bramer, Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, and the Brooklyn Delegation of the Council; and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. BAM would like to thank the Brooklyn Delegations of the New York State Assembly, Joseph R. Lentol, Delegation Leader; and New York Senate, Senator Velmanette Montgomery. 

General Information BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, BAM Rose Cinemas, and BAMcafé are located in the Peter Jay Sharp building at 30 Lafayette Avenue (between St Felix Street and Ashland Place) in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. BAM Harvey Theater is located two blocks from the main building at 651 Fulton Street (between Ashland and Rockwell Places). Both locations house Greenlight Bookstore at BAM kiosks. BAM Fisher, located at 321 Ashland Place, is the newest addition to the BAM campus and houses the Judith and Alan Fishman Space and Rita K. Hillman Studio. BAM Rose Cinemas is Brooklyn’s only movie house dedicated to first-run independent and foreign film and repertory programming. BAMcafé, operated by Great Performances, offers varied light fare and bar service prior to BAM Howard Gilman Opera House evening performances. 

Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, Q, B to Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center (2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins St for Harvey Theater) D, N, R to Pacific Street; G to Fulton Street; C to Lafayette Avenue 

Train: Long Island Railroad to Atlantic Terminal – Barclays Center 

Bus: B25, B26, B41, B45, B52, B63, B67 all stop within three blocks of BAM 

For ticket information, call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or visit

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