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
Racialized Police ViolenceAntigone 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 activists, youth, teachers, police officers, and concerned citizens from St. Louis, Missouri and New York City, culminating in powerful, healing discussions about racialized violence, police brutality, systemic oppression, gender-based violence, health inequality, 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.
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.
Pandemic & Climate CrisisPoetry for the Pandemic
Using poetry as a catalyst for an Intergenerational performance and discussion during the Covid-19 pandemic.