Past and present collide in Ellen McLaughlin’s mash-up of Sophocles’ classic tragedy “Ajax” with the modern day war in Iraq.
Presented by the Department of Theatre and Communication Arts
Produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc., www.playscripts.com
A Linfield PLACE event
This play contains mature subject matter, graphic violence, and adult language.
The play follows the parallel narratives of Ajax, an ancient Greek military hero, and A.J., a modern female soldier, both undone by the betrayal of a commanding officer. Athena, goddess of war coolly presides over the play, which explores the struggles soldiers face in trying to make sense of war.
The 17-member cast of Ajax in Iraq consists of Linfield students and faculty, in addition to several students working on design elements of the show. Daniel Bradley will play Ajax and Alli Halley will play A.J. The role of Athena will be played by three women - visiting French Fulbright teaching assistant Amandine Gravier, Amanda Kern, and Kristie Castanera.
During rehearsals, students spent time listening to veterans' stories to better understand the issues they are portraying. Additionally, they took part in a "boot camp" to prepare for their roles. Four rehearsals included an hour-long WOD (Workout of the Day), led by McMinnville Crossfit owner JP Kloninger and fight choreographer Ted deChatelet. The workouts simulated physical training for soldiers and provided camaraderie and morale-building, which soldiers experience in boot camp.
"Being 'there' for the other person is a big theme in the play," said Janet Gupton, director and associate professor of theatre arts.
McLaughlin's plays have earned national and international accolades. McLaughlin is also an actor. She has worked on and off Broadway as well as extensively in regional theater. She is most well known for having originated the part of Angel in Tony Kushner's "Angels in America," appearing in every U.S. production from its earliest workshops through its Broadway run. Her on-screen credits include several films and guest appearances on "Law & Order." She has taught playwriting in numerous venues, from Yale School of Drama to Princeton University and has taught at Barnard College since 1995.