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Theater of War: Hector, Andromache, and the Death of Astyanax

Translated, directed, and facilitated Bryan Doerries

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Tue, Feb 27.2024

Theater of War: Hector, Andromache, and the Death of Astyanax will present live, dramatic readings of selections from Homer’s Iliad, Book VI and scenes from The Trojan Women by Euripides—featuring acclaimed actors and a Chorus of Columbia students, from a variety of backgrounds, whose lives have been impacted by war—to help frame powerful, healing dialogue about the human cost of war, centered on the suffering of children and civilians.

Featuring performances by Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction), Lois Smith (The French Dispatch), Elizabeth Marvel (The Color Purple), and Glenn Davis (Billions; Artistic Director, Steppenwolf Theatre Company).

Translated, directed, and facilitated by Bryan Doerries

Co-presented by Theater of War Productions and the Columbia College Center for the Core Curriculum.

This event is open to Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, and Columbia General Studies undergraduate students, and invited guests.

About the plays

  • The Trojan Women by Euripides

    The selected scenes from Euripides’ Trojan Women take place at the end of the Trojan War, after Hector has been slain and Troy has been destroyed. Andromache and her son Astyanax are led through the ruins of the city on a wagon with Hector’s helmet and amour piled next to them. Andromache is being taken away by Achilles’ son Neoptolemus to live as his concubine and slave. The women of Troy, who have all lost their husbands in battle, mourn Andromache’s fate, as well as their own. Suddenly, a herald arrives and announces that the Greek army has decided to execute Astyanax by throwing him off the Trojan towers to prevent him from one day avenging his father’s death. Andromache says goodbye to her son before he is taken away and executed by Odysseus and she is taken from Troy on Neoptolemus’ ship. In the final scene, Astyanax’ body is brought to his grandmother Hecuba, the Queen of Troy, and the play ends with a funeral procession in which Astyanax is buried on his father’s shield while the remains of Troy are burned to ashes.

  • Iliad, Book VI by Homer

    The Trojan warrior Hector is confronted by his wife Andromache, who begs him not to return to the battlefield where she knows he will die. Hector explains the reasons he must leave her and their young son Astyanax to go back to battle and to his inevitable death. As he parts ways with his family, Hector reaches out to embrace his son, but Astyanax recoils in fear at the sight of his father’s helmet, which Hector removes before kissing and holding his son one last time.

Cast Members

  • Jeffrey Wright Headshot

    Jeffrey Wright

  • Lois Smith Headshot

    Lois Smith

  • Elizabeth Marvel Headshot

    Elizabeth Marvel

  • Glenn Davis Headshot

    Glenn Davis

  • Marjolaine Goldsmith Headshot

    Marjolaine Goldsmith

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