About the play
The Drum Major Instinct by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On February 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered this sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. In it, King speaks to his congregation about the destructive forces of “the drum major instinct,” defined as the desire to be first, to be recognized, and to receive distinction. This instinct, according to King, leads to “the most tragic expressions of man's inhumanity to man,” including white supremacy, violence, consumerism, and unjust wars. King challenges his congregants and the world to harness this “drum major instinct” for good, to be first in love, first in righteousness, first in generosity, first in justice, and above all, first in service to others.
Political ViolenceActs of Violence
Acts of Violence presents scenes from Seneca's Thyestes, a Roman tragedy that was written during the gruesome reign of Nero, as a catalyst for town hall discussions about the impact of political violence upon individuals, families, caregivers, health and human rights advocates, communities, and nations.
Police/Community RelationsAntigone in Ferguson
Antigone in Ferguson is a groundbreaking project that 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 St. Louis, 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.
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.