The lecture, entitled “The Theater of War: How Theater is Used in the Service of Therapy,” is part of the School of Humanities and Sciences’ Distinguished Speaker in the Humanities Series. It begins at 7 p.m. in the Roy H. Park Hall Auditorium and is free and open to the public. It will be followed by a Q&A and book signing.
Doerries created the “Theatre of War” project, which presents performances of ancient Greek plays like Sophocles’ “Ajax” and “Philoctetes” to service members, veterans and their families. These plays depict the physical and psychological wounds of war, and are used to initiate town-hall-style conversations in hopes of de-stigmatizing psychological injuries and increasing awareness of the hardships many veterans face when they return home.
“In all of his work Doerries forces us to radically reconsider the task of the humanities and to reject the notions that Classical learning is either an antiquated study or a set of check marks to be attained in a march towards some sort of cultural literacy,” said Robert Sullivan, associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies. “Doerries shows us that the humanities can be harnessed to address the suffering of humans in extraordinary situations — wounded veterans, maximum security prisoners and medical patients in the last extremities of life.”
Doerries is the author of “The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today,” in which he recounts his experience using ancient texts to help at-risk individuals cope with and overcome their challenges.
Past speakers in the Distinguished Speaker in the Humanities Series include Stephen Greenblatt, Tony Kushner, Martha Nussbaum, Salman Rushdie, Karen Armstrong and Robert Pinsky.