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Theater of War Frontline ACEP

Translated, Directed, and Facilitated by Bryan Doerries

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Wed, Aug 04.2021

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Theater of War for the Emergency Medicine Community is an innovative project that presents dramatic readings by acclaimed actors of scenes from ancient Greek plays to help emergency physicians and other healthcare professionals engage in healing, constructive discussions about the unique challenges and stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using plays by Sophocles and other ancient authors 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.

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