Theater of War is currently presented in three different formats: The AJAX & PHILOCTETES Program, The AJAX Program, and The FEMALE WARRIOR Program. Each reading is followed by a panel discussion featuring a diverse group of community participants, as well as a town hall-style audience discussion.
Traditionally, the panel includes: an active duty soldier who has experienced at least one deployment to the current conflicts, a veteran who has experienced at least one deployment to any past conflict, a spouse or another family member, and a mental health professional and/or a member of the military chaplaincy. The event takes approximately 2 hours, from start to finish, including the performance, panel discussion and the town hall meeting that follows.
The AJAX & PHILOCTETES Program
The AJAX & PHILOCTETES Program features scenes from Sophocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes to promote dialogue about the seen and unseen wounds of war.
- Ajax tells the story of a fierce warrior who slips into a depression near the end of The Trojan War, attempts to murder his commanding officers, fails, and takes his own life. It is also the story of how Ajax’ wife and troops attempt to intervene before it’s too late.
- Philoctetes is a psychologically complex tragedy about a famous Greek warrior who is marooned on a deserted island by his army after contracting a horrifying and debilitating illness. It is also the story of a young officer who attempts to betray the wounded warrior by stealing his weapon, but then faces a moral dilemma about leaving the suffering soldier behind.
THE AJAX PROGRAM
The AJAX Program features five scenes from Sophocles’ Ajax to promote dialogue about the seen and unseen wounds of war, and focuses particularly on the impact of combat-related stress upon service members and their families.
The FEMALE WARRIOR Program
The Female Warrior Program features five scenes from Sophocles’ Ajax, to promote dialogue about the aspects of deployment and post-deployment transition that uniquely impact female service members.
• The role of Ajax is performed by a female actor, with a male actor in the role of her husband, Tecmessor.
• The text includes powerful passages that address the psychological challenges faced specifically by female service members and veterans, as well as their resilience and experience during post-deployment transition.
• The performance is followed by a panel of female service members, veterans, mental health professionals, chaplains, and spouses, which frames the town hall discussion around the specific impact of war upon female warriors and their families.