Antigone in Ferguson is a groundbreaking project, developed by Theater of War Productions, which fuses dramatic readings by acclaimed actors of Sophocles’ Antigone with live choral music performed by a diverse choir, including police officers, activists, youth, teachers, and concerned citizens from Ferguson, Missouri and New York City, culminating in powerful, healing discussions about race and social justice. Antigone in Ferguson was conceived in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in 2014, through a collaboration between Theater of War Productions and community members from Ferguson, MO, and premiered at Normandy High School, Michael Brown’s alma mater, in September of 2016.
About the play
Antigone by Sophocles
Sophocles’ Antigone is an ancient play about a teenage girl who wishes to bury her brother, Polyneices, who recently died in a brutal civil war. Creon, the new, untested king, has ruled that Polyneices’ body must remain above the earth, and that anyone who breaks this law will be put to death. Antigone openly and intentionally defies his edict, covering her brother’s body with dirt and publicly declaring her allegiance to a higher law, one that transcends that of the state—the law of love. Creon is then forced, by his own political rhetoric, and the by fragile social order that he has barely begun to establish since the civil war, to make an example of his niece, by sentencing her to death. In the process of following through with his own decree, Creon loses everything. At its core, Antigone is a play about what happens when personal conviction and state law clash, raising the question: When everyone is right (or feels justified), how do we avert the violence that will inevitably take place?
War & Mental HealthThe Tecmessa Project
The Tecmessa Project presents readings of Sophocles’s Ajax, an ancient play about the visible and invisible wounds of war, as the catalyst for discussions focusing on the unique challenges faced by military family members, including couples, children, caregivers, and communities. This project is designed to promote understanding, compassion, and positive action.
PandemicThe Oedipus Project
The Oedipus Project is an innovative new digital initiative by Theater of War Productions that will present acclaimed actors performing scenes from Sophocles’ Oedipus the King as a catalyst for powerful, healing online conversations about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon diverse communities throughout the world. Sophocles’ ancient play, written and performed in 429 BC during the time of a plague that killed one-third of the Athenian population, is a timeless story of arrogant leadership, ignored prophecy, and a pestilence that ravages the city of Thebes. At the time the play was first performed, the audience would have been reeling in the wake of a pestilence and its economic, political, and social aftermath. Seen through this lens Oedipus the King appears to have been a powerful public health tool for helping Athenians communalize the trauma of the plague, through a story that is as relevant now as it was in its own time.
Caregiving & DeathEnd of Life
End of Life presents readings of ancient Greek plays in public settings and medical communities as a catalyst for facilitated discussions about challenges faced by patients, families, and health professionals today around end of life care. This unique, participatory event is intended to promote powerful, open discussion among diverse communities - public and professional - fostering compassion, cooperation, and understanding about living with chronic suffering and the mortality we all share.