A Short Summary of the Play (its themes and its message to the contemporary world):
'The Tyrant in Underworld -- A Dream of Hades with Lucian of Samosata' (from here on, 'The Tyrant') is a play mainly about Megapenthes, the tyrant of the day, who finds himself in the underworld along with several other characters, such as cynic philosophers, shoemakers, people whom he wronged, all waiting to cross the River of Styx. 'The Tyrant' has two parts; the first part is an adaptation of one of Lucian of Samosata's stories about Megapenthes, adapted to theatre, and the second part is a modern day section which features the writer and the villagers of a modern Samosata, now a Turkish town. Lucian himself also plays an important part in the play, as the modern author finds himself transported to his time and has chance to ask him some important questions regarding his time and his actions. The play's main themes include conflict between the rich and the poor, cynic philosophy and simple living, tyranny of those in power, superstitious beliefs, accountability and lack thereof, and the human condition.
The play's message to the contemporary world, I believe, is that oppression lives on if power is left unchecked to the hands of a single person, with no checks and balances, and it can be easily abused against the masses. The other message of the play to the world is that human rights and freedom of expression are so precious and fragile, as the play demonstrates, freedom of expression and being critical of certain religious beliefs were much more tolerated at the time of Lucian than in some traditional societies today. Finally, the play also sends the message that superstition or religious beliefs can live on across borders, cultures, generations and centuries, which makes it hard to criticize, as it has become a taboo.
A Short Bio of Dr Ismail Kaygusuz:
Dr Ismail Kaygusuz is a British-Turkish playwright and novelist who specialises in Ancient History, Classical Archeology and Classical languages. He worked as a lecturer at Classical Archeology and Classical Philology departments at a number of universities in Turkey for nine years. He also took part at the Van-Urartu, Enez and Perge archeological excavations and wrote several research papers on these in national and international scientific journals. He also studied the language and epigraphy of Byzantium at 'Université de Nancy II' and 'Collége de France'.
Dr Kaygusuz moved to London in 1992 and he continues to live and produce his work here to this day. There are various theatre plays, novels and semi-biographical books to his name, along with several academic books on Heterodox Islam (Alevism), Sufism, gnostic beliefs and institutions, philosophy and history. He was born in 1944, in Arapkir, Turkey, at the village of Onar.
Some Background on Lucian of Samosata (adapted from the Wikipedia article):
Lucian was a Syrian satirist who was known for his tongue-in-cheek style, as he often ridiculed superstition, religious practices, and belief in the paranormal in his works. Although he was of Assyrian origin, he wrote all his works in Greek.
Lucian was the son of a lower middle class family from the village of Samosata, the capital of the remote Roman province of Commagene. As a young man, he was apprenticed to his uncle to become a sculptor, but, after a failed attempt at sculpting, he ran away to pursue an education in Ionia. He became a travelling lecturer and visited universities throughout the Roman Empire. After acquiring fame and wealth through his teaching, Lucian finally settled down in Athens for a decade, during which he wrote most of his extant works. In his old age, he was appointed as a highly-paid government official in Egypt, after which point he disappears from the historical record.
Lucian's works were wildly popular in antiquity and more than eighty writings attributed to him have survived to the present day, a considerably higher quantity than for most other classical writers. His most famous work is A True Story, a tongue-in-cheek satire against authors who tell incredible tales, which is regarded by some as the earliest known work of science fiction. Lucian invented the genre of the comic dialogue, a parody of the traditional Platonic dialogue.