Wider Frame: Ajax in Iraq

Saturday, December 18, 2010 Leave a Comment

(What is The Wider Frame?)

A play that deals so directly with our current Iraq war can't help but be seen in the context of a wider frame. In producing Ajax in Iraq, we must do justice not only to the play itself, but to subject matter of the play, the lives of the soldiers serving in our two wars. But there are other exciting frames to this dazzling and complex play.

We'll share these frames through blog posts and pre/post show speakers and conversations. Here is a list of some possibilities - if this sparks an idea for a pre-show event, post-show speaker, or blog feature, please email me at gus at fluxtheatre dot org, or make a note in the comments.

Potential Frames:
Veteran Care: America's care of its veterans remains fraught after Walter Reed, and with so many veterans returning in this uncertain draw down, questions of how to honor their service are painfully timely and central to Ajax in Iraq.

Gender and Service: A.J., the central character of the modern world of Ajax in Iraq, is a female soldier who suffers a betrayal from a male commanding officer. How is the experience of a female solider different than a male soldier?

Sophocles' Ajax: A.J.'s story runs parallel to that of Sophocles Ajax, re-imagined by Ellen McLaughlin in her ongoing work with Greek theatre. It would exciting to explore how the Ajax story has been interpreted throughout history.

Temporary Insanity: The difficult questions of this legal idea are given visceral life in what happens to A.J. and Ajax when they are betrayed. How easy is it to lose ourselves in the mindless violence of cruelty?

Iraq History: The strata of Ajax in Iraq go beyond the parallel tracks of A.J. and Ajax to include such historical figures as Gertrude Bell. How did a country made up of such antithetical cultures wind up existing, and how can it (or should it be) sustained?

Military and Civilian Divide: Douglas B. Wilson says that "less than 1% of the American public are serving in uniform serving on battle fronts." What is the cost of that experiential divide, and how can it be bridged? What role does theatre serve in doing so?

This is just a start for Ajax in Iraq, as our principle energies are focused on the imminent Dog Act, but let us know if any of these frames inspire any ideas, and we'll be following up with more on these frames in later posts!


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