(Latest in a series of posts on the Arts)
Touchstone Theater is truly one of those places that makes Bethlehem special.
Make sure Touchstone’s 10-day “Festival Unbound” — featuring many local artists and performers and taking place at a variety of local venues — is on your calendar: October 4-13.
Festival UnBound is designed “to use art to bring the community together to explore its future now that it is ‘unbound’ from the Steel.”
One of the events in the festival is “The Secret,” an original play on Bethlehem-born writer H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), part of the Finding H.D. series that followers know that we have been . . . well, following. More on that event later.
Take a look at this fine article on the festival and particularly on its centerpiece “Prometheus/Redux.”
Bill George plays Prometheus. Photo by Christopher Shorr.
“Prometheus/Redux,” is Touchstone’s sequel to “Steelbound,” a 1999 groundbreaking theatrical work, which reflected on what Bethlehem Steel once meant to the region, shortly after the closing of the iconic company.
“Steelbound” which featured a cast of more than 50, including former steel workers and their families and neighbors, and was produced in the iron foundry of the closed Steel plant in south Bethlehem. The sold-out production was the centerpiece of the company’s Steel Festival, which celebrated Bethlehem’s heritage of steel-making.
“Steelbound” was an adaptation of Aeschylus’ “Prometheus Bound,” a Greek tragedy in which Prometheus, who stands for human progress against the forces of nature, was punished by Zeus by being chained to a rock, where an eagle perpetually ate his liver. In the work, Bill George, Touchstone co-founder and ensemble member, played a steelworker named Prometheus.
In “Prometheus/Redux,” written by Gerard Stropnicky, co-founder of Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, George returns as Prometheus 20 years after he left the Steel. However, now, instead of being chained to the ladle, he is bound to a hospital bed, suffering liver failure and trying find a place for himself in a changed world.
“Prometheus/Redux” will run during the festival’s opening weekend at Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts.
The play takes place in a Bethlehem hospital, representing the healthcare industry, one of the area’s strongest industries post-Steel. Many characters are hospital staff, and part of the team that tends to Prometheus.
“We want to honor the work of the healthcare field by taking the action seriously, and portraying it realistically,” says Christopher Shorr, director of “Prometheus/Redux” and director of theater at Moravian College.