March 24, 2020
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Can modern battle trauma be healed through classic tales of war’s costs? Bryan Doerries ’98 explores this hypothesis through his ongoing project, Theater of War. The project, and the theater company that performs it, recently were featured in Harper’s Magazine.
Doerries co-founded the company, Outside the Wire, in 2009. The group presents classic Greek and Roman plays, most of which have been translated by Doerries, in military bases, prisons, homeless shelters and hospitals with the goal of helping people come to terms with their suffering and loss. Each performance ends with a powerful statement: “If we had one message to deliver to you, 2,400 years later, it’s simply this: You are not alone across time.”
“The key lies in identifying a population struggling with a particular issue — chronic illness, addiction, the aftermath of a natural disaster — and then finding a play or text that will connect with its core values and, in turn, bring people together in powerful, unpredictable ways,” said Doerries, who majored in classics, in Harper’s. “When a tragedy works, it’s like an external hard drive. You plug it into an audience and they know what to do.”
To read the full Harper’s article, including more on Doerries’ time at Kenyon, tap here.