Discussion Explores Today’s Combat Trauma Through Ancient Greek Plays
March 29, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The trauma endured by soldiers could be called timeless, no matter
the location or century of the battle.
Bryan Doerries, founder and director of the Theatre of War project will discuss how
ancient the Greek play Philoctetes universally depicts the psychological and physical wounds inflicted upon warriors
by war. His talk, “The Philoctetes Project: Combat Trauma in Today’s Wars, Explored in Ancient Greek Theatre” will be
from 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 1, in room 103 of Stevenson Hall (210 E. University
St., Bloomington) at Illinois Wesleyan University.
The talk, sponsored by the University’s Greek and Roman Studies program, is part of
the Ides Lecture and Performance Series and is free and open to the public. A Q&A
will follow the talk. Veterans are encouraged to attend.
Since 2008, Theater of War has presented readings of Sophocles' Ajax and Philoctetes to military communities across the United States in hopes of de-stigmatizing psychological
trauma and open a dialogue about the challenges faced by service members, veterans
and their caregivers and families. The project is funded by a $3.7 million contract
with the U.S. Department of Defense.
According to the Doerries, it has been suggested that ancient Greek drama was a form
of storytelling, communal therapy, and ritual reintegration for combat veterans by
combat veterans. Sophocles himself was a general. The audiences for whom these plays
were performed were undoubtedly comprised of citizen-soldiers.
Doerries is a New York-based writer, translator, director and educator. Along with
Theatre of War, his other recent theatrical projects include Prometheus in Prison, which presents Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound to corrections professionals to engage them in conversations about custody and re-entry
into society, and End of Life, which presents Sophocles’ Women of Trachis to palliative care and hospice workers to engage them in dialogue with other medical
professionals about medical ethics and pain management.
For additional information, contact Professor Nancy Sultan with Greek and Roman Studies
at (309) 556-3171, or the Theatre of War Web site at www.philoctetesproject.org.
Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960