Saturday, June 18, 2011

“Ajax in Iraq” Insanity of War Is Not Ancient Myth

The Insanity of War Is Not Ancient Myth

Published: June 17, 2011

Ellen McLaughlin wants you to know that while you are reading your paper or computer screen, American soldiers in Iraq are on duty, very busy being soldiers. When you have dinner, they will still be there. And when you go back to work after the weekend. And she wants you to know that they have good reasons to exhibit some form of insanity.

The Flux Theater Ensemble’s fervent and valiant production of Ms. McLaughlin’s sophisticated “Ajax in Iraq” makes its case in two ways. It preaches, calmly. And it tells parallel stories: of a tragic Trojan War figure and a brave young soldier in the Iraq war whose tragedy is just as ruinous.

Upstage at the Flamboyán Theater, Ajax (Stephen Conrad Moore), the protagonist of Sophocles’ play, commits atrocities. Devastated that Odysseus has received the military honors that Ajax deserves for his brilliance in battle, Ajax vows to kill the Greek leaders who made this decision. But driven insane, he furiously slaughters animal after animal, instead, thinking they are men.

Downstage, young American soldiers, men and women in T-shirts and camouflage pants, talk about the nightmare of living in a war zone 24 hours a day, in a conflict where anyone may be the enemy, anything may be a bomb, and as one says, “we’re the only ones in uniform, you know.”
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Insanity of War Is Not Ancient Myth

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