Tulane Performance Uses Sophocles' Theater Of War To Open Dialogue With Modern Vets

Apr 7, 2016

Actors Elizabeth Marvel and Bill Camp perform a scene from Sophocles in 'Theater of War.'
Credit Outside the Wire productions

    A performance is planned at Tulane University this week that brings ancient Greek tragedy to modern-day veterans. Eileen Fleming reports it’s also a public health project.

When Marshall Hevron heard about the ‘Theater of War’ production, he immediately understood the relevance. The former commander of the New Orleans Veterans of Foreign Wars post once studied the classics.

“It made perfect sense to me because even though the implements of war have changed a lot since the days of Sophocles, the elemental combat experience is the same," Hevron said. "And the issues that returning warriors deal with are elementally the same.”  

Hevron says the VFW spread the word that the production was looking for local participation, and members responded.

The person coordinating the ‘Theater of War’ show is Tulane University classics professor Michael Brumbaugh. He’s been working for two years with Outside the Wire productions, which describes itself as a social impact company,

‘Theater of War’ has been performed more than 300 times throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. Venues include military sites from the Pentagon, Guantanamo Bay, VA Hospitals, homeless shelters and high school auditoriums,

Actors read excerpts from Sophocles. Panelists discuss how their experiences reflect the message, and then a town hall session begins to allow audience participation.

The production is meant to trigger discussions with present-day veterans and their families about how they were affected by war.

The local panel will include a researcher with the Tulane Medical School and Veterans Administration, three veterans and the wife of a combat veteran.

Theater of War begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at Dixon Hall at Tulane University.