Theater of War is a groundbreaking suicide prevention training that presents acclaimed actors performing scenes from Sophocles’ Ajax—an ancient play about the suicide of a great, respected warrior—as a catalyst for guided audience discussions about suicide, safety, mental health, alcohol and substance abuse, and the impact of deployment on individuals, families, and communities. Using Sophocles’ play to forge a common vocabulary for open dialogue, these events are aimed at generating compassion and understanding between diverse audiences. Each performance is followed by community panelist remarks and a facilitated audience discussion.
Featuring performances by Chad Coleman (The Wire, The Walking Dead), Chris Henry Coffey (Trust, Chicago Fire), and Marjolaine Goldsmith (Company Manager Theater of War Productions).
Translated, directed, and facilitated by Bryan Doerries.
Hosted by JSOC POTFF.
About the play
Ajax by Sophocles
Sophocles’ Ajax tells the story of a fierce warrior who is passed over for recognition by his command after losing his cousin Achilles in battle during the Trojan War. Feeling betrayed, Ajax attempts to murder his superior officers, fails, and—ultimately—takes his own life. The play tells the story of the events leading up to Ajax’ suicide, as well as the story of his wife and troops’ attempt to intervene before it's too late. The play also depicts the devastating impact of Ajax’ suicide upon his wife, son, brother, troops, and chain of command.
Chris Henry Coffey
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The King Lear Project presents streamlined readings of scenes from Shakespeare’s King Lear to engage diverse audiences—including older adults, caregivers, and family members—in open, healing, constructive, discussions about the challenges of aging, dementia, and caring for friends and loved ones.
Refugees & ImmigrationThe Suppliants Project
The Suppliants Project tells the timeless story of fifty female refugees seeking asylum at a border from forced marriage and domestic violence. The play not only depicts the struggle of these women to cross into safety, but also the internal struggle within the city that ultimately receives them. Using a 2,500-year-old tragedy by Aeschylus as a catalyst for powerful gatherings and crucial conversations, The Suppliants Project engages diverse audiences in humanizing, constructive dialogue about the challenges and impact of war, migration, and seeking asylum.
Addiction & Substance AbuseAddiction Performance Project
Designed to raise awareness about opiate addiction and alcohol abuse, the project is intended to promote dialogue about helping those who are struggling with addiction.