Wednesday, November 6, 2019 | 6:00pm
Thursday, November 7, 2019 | 6:00pm
2960 Broadway (at 116th Street)
New York, NY 10027
It has been suggested that ancient Greek drama was a form of storytelling and ritual reintegration for combat veterans by combat veterans. Sophocles was a general. During the 5th Century BC, Athens was at war for more than 80 years, often on multiple fronts. The audience for whom Ajax was performed consisted of nearly 17,000 citizen-soldiers, and the actors themselves were most likely combat veterans and cadets. Seen through this lens, ancient Greek tragedy appears to have been a powerful public health tool aimed at helping service members and veterans confront and address the moral, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of war, as well as return to civilian life between deployments.
Theater of War presents readings of Sophocles’ Ajax to military and civilian communities across the United States and Europe. This ancient play timelessly and universally depict the visible and invisible wounds of war. Each performance is followed by a powerful audience discussion led by community panelists. This project has been presented for diverse audiences in a wide array of settings, including military installations, hospitals, medical schools, universities, homeless shelters, libraries, public housing developments, cultural institutions, high schools, prisons, and public parks.
Theater of War Productions works with leading film, theater, and television actors to present dramatic readings of seminal plays - from classical Greek tragedies to modern and contemporary works - followed by town hall-style discussions designed to confront social issues by drawing out raw and personal reactions to themes highlighted in the plays. The guided discussions underscore how the plays resonate with contemporary audiences and invite audience members to share their perspectives and experiences, and, helping to break down stigmas, foster empathy, compassion, and a deeper understanding of complex issues.
Theater of War is sponsored by the Humanities War & Peace Initiative, the Center for the Core Curriculum, the School of General Studies, and the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities.