WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., March 1, 2017—An innovative public health and performance project, “Theater of War,” is coming to Williams College on Tuesday, March 7, with a 7:30 p.m. in the Adams Memorial Theatre in the ’62 Center. Tickets are free but required. You can contact the box office (413-597-2425), Tuesday – Saturday, 1-4 p.m. or reserve online.
“Theater of War” presents a reading of Sophocles’ Ajax, which is an ancient Greek play about the suicide of a great warrior. This reading acts as a catalyst for facilitated town hall discussion that follows the reading, discussing suicide, combat stress, alcohol and substance abuse, and the impact of war on families. The project also hopes to raise awareness and vigilance about suicide, destigmatize combat stress and psychological injury, and raise community awareness about this challenge faced by service members, veterans, and their families. Finally, this performance will help to connect service members to available resources and encourage service members and their families to seek help. The Williams’ performance will feature Emmy Award-winning actor Reg E. Cathey and Marjolaine Goldsmith. The event will be introduced by Chris Gibson, former U.S. Army colonel, former U.S. Representative from New York and current visiting professor of Leadership Studies at Williams College. A panel discussion with area veterans, mental health professionals, and veterans’ family members will follow the play.
Ajax tells the story of a fierce warrior who slips into a depression near the end of the Trojan War, after losing his best friend, Achilles. Ajax then attempts to murder his commanding officers, fails, and ultimately takes his own life. This play also depicts the devastating impact of Ajax’s suicide upon his wife, son, brother, troops, and chain of command. The town hall discussion that follows elicits first-person testimonial comments from service members of all ranks. Then, community panel members kick off the conversation with their gut reactions to the play, and then a skilled facilitator asks the audience a series of questions to bring together the whole event.
This performance and discussion has been delivered more than 340 times at military and civilian sites throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan, across all services: Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, including Reserve and National Guard units. More than 100 acclaimed actors have participated in Theater of War, including Jake Gyllenhaal, Frances McDormand, Jesse Eisenberg, and Paul Giamatti.
This event is sponsored by the departments of classics, comparative literature, English, theatre, philosophy; the Gaudino Fund; the World War II Memorial Lecture Fund; the Lecture Committee; and the Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences.
For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications (413) 597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at www.williams.edu/map