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So last night my wife had taken us to see the Theater of War: Soldiers and Citizens tour which was a 2 act reading from a Sophocles play about Ajax the great Greek warrior who under the stress of 9 years of war as well as being betrayed by his generals spiraled into PTSD like scenario and madness depicted as “Divine Curse”.
This company and production known as Theater of War is an entry way into helping raise awareness for veterans and families of veterans about various mental illness states that affect our troops who come home from combat zones as well as civilians affected by similar symptoms as well.
The acting was particularly dramatic and read with timing and effect, the part of Ajax was read by Brian F. O’Byrne and the parts of Tecmessa were read by Heather Goldenhersh in this particular presentation, the actors reading and portraying the characters in the play varies by city and performance.
What was interesting about this presentation and performance is they actually encouraged you to use a SmartPhone app along with the performance and gradually keep pressing an emotion meter (1 – 10) as you were watching the play to help provide feedback on which parts of the reading stirred up empathy and emotion in audience. At the end of the play they showed the results of the feedback from the audience creating a graph on which scenes and how people responded to various segments of the play and what garnered more emotional empathy and resonance in the audience.
They then went into bringing up panelists to talk and compare real life experience and the Sophocles play and how they saw their own lives mirror elements in the part of the story that was read. It then opened up to audience interaction where questions were posted and students, teachers and veterans shared experiences and participated in building a connection and a bridge. This was held at MiraCosta College in Oceanside and made for an unique and interesting experience.
My conclusion and synopsis which of course was the same prior to the play is that communities need to come together and be involved in helping everyone who is having mental health issues, these issues cannot be skirted under the rug and actions need to be accountable for those who cause mental trauma as well as physical trauma in others. Families, friends of loved ones who are suffering from mental trauma need to turn to professional assistance where needed as those suffering may be deaf to those who are closest to them who have the best of intentions but not the professional and training to try and help someone recover from the damage and self inflicted isolation that can occur from such mental and emotional trauma.
This play was worth participating in and watching, and I encourage you to learn more about Theater of War