Doerries: Within a few months of that first performance, I found myself sitting in a general's office in Virginia, just down the road from the Pentagon, fielding questions about what it would take to bring Theater of War to scale.
Can you give us an idea of the different places you've taken Theater of War performances?
Doerries: We've performed Theater of War in hundreds of locations all over the world, from military installations throughout the US, to Japan to Germany to Denmark to the detention camps in Guantanamo Bay, and in settings as varied as the Pentagon, homeless shelters, VA hospitals, universities, chapels, museums, and theaters such as Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Interviewer: Along with Bryan O'Byrne, as Philoctetes, and Benjamin Busch, as Odysseus, you brought Theater of War to the Air Force Academy earlier this year and performed Philoctetes for over 2000 people.
Doerries: We present Theater of War on military installations as training events, in which case the audience is typically composed of hundreds of service members who have mandatorily been made--or "voluntold," as is said in the military--to watch our renderings of Sophocles' plays.
Interviewer: Contemplating what you've written and observing the way you frame Theater of War performances, I've concluded that your work essentially comes down to what might be called a serious confrontation with the problem of pain.
So what is it that explains the distaste people sometimes have for Greek tragedy and how does the Theater of War experience combat negative perceptions of tragedy?
Interviewer: Theater of War will soon be eight years old.
Without giving away too much of the book, would you mind sharing a few memorable moments from what we might call your Theater of War highlights reel?
Theater of War is not about fixing meaning, but opening it up.
We've had audience members stand up and say, "This is my tenth time seeing Theater of War," and then go on to convey fresh, earth-shattering insights based on how they are responding to the plays in that very moment.
One of the first people to speak at a Theater of War performance--that night in San Diego--was a military spouse, who said, "Hello, my name is Marshelle Waddell.