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Maybe we should investigate? Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public. Name required. That cry echoes down 2, years of history, out of the collective unconscious.

Men and women and gods, war and fate, lightning and thunder and the universal in everyone. The United States has been at war for 16 years. Four, five or six tours in Iraq or Afghanistan or both. The stresses are unbearable. Armed forces suicide rates have never been higher. A Department of Veterans Affairs study was released in From to , as the civilian suicide rate rose about The problem is particularly worrisome among female veterans, who saw their suicide rates rise more than 85 percent over that time, compared to about 40 percent for civilian women.

And roughly 65 percent of all veteran suicides in were for individuals 50 years or older, many of whom spent little or no time fighting in the most recent wars. Retired Army Gen. Loree Sutton, a medical doctor and commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services for the city of New York, was an early advocate of Theater of War. We had to have something that would really engage our troops and their leaders.

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An experience that really spoke to their inner fears, needs and struggles. I was blown away. I just know my buddy would be here today if he had seen that you can have these feelings, these struggles and you can still be the strongest of warriors. Against all odds, we were able to negotiate a contract with DoD. But that initial contract funding has now run out. The challenge for Doerries is raising not only awareness but money.

According to the Pentagon, the Pentagon is strapped.

The discomfort he seeks triggers the fight or flight mechanism in the listener, heightening not only their dramatic apprehensions but their senses. Their attention. Their retention. You walk out of the best of these shows exhausted. On August 9, , Michael Brown, 18, was shot to death during an altercation with police officer Darren Wilson. Ferguson became synonymous with violent unrest and militarized police, with Black Lives Matter and new social justice and old urban stereotypes of us versus them. The very name Ferguson, like Watts or Newark or the Lower Ninth Ward, became a sound bite, another shorthand for injustice and struggle, for a set of seemingly fixed assumptions about America and Americans.

It was Christy who suggested we set the choruses to gospel, and then I insisted that we build a choir that included police singers. Landing in St. Louis, Doerries is tired. He is also hungry. He is also on his phone. He answers questions as he walks, his rolling luggage at his heels like a devoted family pet. In other words, he is as he always is. Avid, and in motion. The Greek chorus will be played by an all-star gospel choir from several area churches, a youth choir, and the St.

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Louis Metropolitan Police Department Choir. The music has been composed by Phil Woodmore, a local music teacher and musician and singer of renown. Even in the challenge of it, there was so much structure around it. So there was still a safe zone there for me. Reg E.

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Even the TV news crew in the room is brought up short by it. There will be three performances in a single day. Louis suburb of mixed incomes, mixed outcomes, mixed demographics. Picture Berlin in black-and-white. A terrible civil war has just ended in Thebes. Creon has taken the throne and ordered the rebellious brother, Polyneices, be left to rot unburied.

Defying that order, Antigone rushes to bury him.

Creon orders Antigone put to death, walling her up in a small cave where she eventually commits suicide. The breakneck pace of these readings gives the events of each play a drumbeat not only of urgency but of inevitability. The price of good fortune is calamity, and it is swift-moving and it is inexorable, and as the chorus says, destiny can be avoided, but it cannot be escaped. Fate is a one-track, high-speed train wreck, and for the audience, this means a swift rush of endorphins.

Most textbook translations of these Greek classics, the ones dreaded by high school students, read like a 19th-century catalog of waxworks. The heroes cast shadows, but nothing moves. More devoted to scholarship and preservation than the imperatives of living theater, the whole thing is inert on the page. Even the best modern versions lose dramatic momentum in the bogs and thickets of their own poetry.

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But every Doerries translation is a hot rod. A souped-up, stripped-down engine of event. Behavioral rather than aesthetic, each one is a master class in compression; in conflict and climax and American vernacular English.

Lives are ruined and race to their inevitable end without the ornamentations of poetry. Directing and translating are one thing. Creon has been destroyed by fate, by his own convictions and decisions. He begs to be led away from the city. One of the singers, Duane Foster, a speech and drama teacher, is also a panelist, and taught Michael Brown.

He leans into the microphone and his anger is not measured, it is righteous. People forget about the total blatant disrespect of that boy laying on the ground because people were trying to figure out what to do. And what we do, at the end of the day, is fake. But we can elicit real, emotional human feelings from people. And you can hear that in theory, but I really experienced that today.

Two shows at the church in the heat, the music rising, the audience taken up, cops and community, the intimacy and the ardor and yes, the love, even in dispute or disagreement, everyone for everyone, neighbors again, so sweetly, so briefly, unopposed.

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All the sweat and ecstasy and chain lightning of an old-time revival meeting. Cathey says. It was one of those things that make you glad to be an American in a weird way. Late that night, even an exhausted Doerries is overwhelmed. Now we take this show on to Baltimore and New York. Beyond class war and political resentment, beyond even racism, there is something profoundly lonely in modernity, something isolating and dislocating. Maybe sitting in the same room with other humans who suffer and speak is comfort enough.

Maybe enough to save us. The next morning, sunrise early, singer John Leggette, a police officer who performs as a soloist in the chorus, is back in uniform.