ID: HR23-1003
Presenting author: Brandi-Dawn Abele

Presenting author biography:

Brandi Abele is a board member for The Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs. Brandi provides consultant services as a PWLLE of IVDU, for various federal government agencies, and academic Institutions. Brandi is currently working on her BA, and is a single parent to an autistic child.

Prometheus Does Down

Brandi-Dawn Abele, Barb Fornssler
Prometheus Does Down is a cri de coeur rewrite of the classic Greek tragedy, by a drug user, with assistance of a substance use researcher with a dramatic arts background. In this version, Prometheus is a gender neutral drug user and supplier, guilty of performing radical harm reduction and seeking solutions for real change. The powers of social institutions are represented by Zeus, the other gods and chorus. Even when seeming compassionate, they continue to participate in the humiliation and degradation of Prometheus, and insist his prison [incarceration, ]and chains [stigma, methadone, legal system, medical system, poverty], are necessary, and of his own making.

This arts-based performance is a storytelling likening Prometheus Bound to the current situation of people who use drugs in Canada. Researchers, medical practitioners, service providers and others complete the cast, for a contemporary retelling of this classic power struggle. This 20-minute performance enacts a critical dialogue representing the stakeholders of substance use policy change.

The voices of PWUD in Canada are now being championed by privileged professionals for their experience to inform grants and projects. However, this emphasis often results in tokenistic gestures of inclusion, rather than embodying personal dignity or real change. Prometheus is the person who uses substances, saving lives through radical defiance of the gods by giving godly powers of civilization, fire, etc, [drugs, assistance, compassion], to humanity and is now chained to the rock in punishment When Prometheus is labeled “non compliant”, he is cast into the underworld for additional torture. Will people who use substances in Canada suffer the same fate? The artists hope that those with power may recognize in the classic Greek tragedy the script they are writing, because Zeus really may be a tyrant after all.