Theater of War for Frontline Medical Providers is an innovative project that presents dramatic readings by acclaimed actors of scenes from Sophocles' Philoctetes and Women of Trachis to help nurses, doctors, medical students, first responders, and other heath care providers engage in healing, constructive discussions about the unique challenges and stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using plays by Sophocles to create a vocabulary for discussing themes such as personal risk, death/dying, grief, deviation from standards of care, abandonment, helplessness, and complex ethical decisions, the project aims to foster connection, community, moral resilience, and positive action.
About the plays
Philoctetes by Sophocles
Sophocles’ Philoctetes tells the story of decorated warrior who is abandoned on a deserted island because of mysterious chronic illness that he contracts on the way to the Trojan War. Nine years later, the Greeks learn from an oracle that in order to win the war they must rescue him from island. When they finally come for him, the wounded warrior must overcome nine long years of festering resentment and shame in order to accept help from the very men who betrayed him.
Women of Trachis by Sophocles
Sophocles’ Women of Trachis, tells the story of Heracles—the strongest of all Greek heroes—who has been unintentionally poisoned by his wife, Deineira, after she discovers that he has fallen in love with a younger woman. In an attempt to win back her husband’s affection mistakes a lethal toxin, which was given to her by a dying centaur years ago for a love potion. Deineira sends him a robe dipped in the liquid. When Heracles puts on the robe it immediately eats through his skin, muscle tissue, down through his bones to the marrow. Heracles falls to the ground, clutching his sides, crying out in pain, calling for his teenage son, Hyllus, to come to his aid and to help him put an end to the seemingly endless waves of pain.
Racism & Social JusticeFrederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass is a project that presents dramatic readings of Douglass' speeches by professional actors as a catalyst for powerful dialogue about racism, inequality, civil rights, education, and the legal system with the objective of fostering compassion, understanding, and positive action.
Addiction & Substance AbuseThe Dionysus Project
The Dionysus Project is an innovative public health project that presents readings of scenes from Euripides' Bacchae, an ancient Greek play about the destructive power of intoxication, as a catalyst for town hall discussions about the impact of substance abuse and addiction upon individuals, families, and communities. The project uses an ancient Greek tragedy, written nearly 2500 years ago, to engage audiences in crucial discussions about the timelessness of the human struggle with substance abuse and addiction, as well as resources and solutions that communities can utilize today.
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.