Since 2008, Theater of War has presented readings of Sophocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes to military communities across the United States. These ancient plays timelessly and universally depict the psychological and physical wounds inflicted upon warriors by war. By presenting these plays to military audiences, Theater of War hopes to de-stigmatize psychological injury and open a safe space for dialogue about the challenges faced by service members, veterans, and their caregivers and families.
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 his 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.
Learn more about Theater of War at their website, which features articles about ToW that appeared in: PBS Newshour, Stars & Stripes, Psychiatric News, The New York Times, The US Department of Defense, Armed Forces Press Service, The Atlantic, The Washignton Times, along with additional information.
Read about Theater of War's experiences of talking their performances to military bases in the Washington Post.