Dramatic art arose as a means of reckoning with war. The earliest known Greek plays were written by military veterans and performed by a chorus of young conscripts, dramatizing episodes from the Trojan War, before an Athenian audience whose lives were directly touched by military conflict. The 21st-century has seen a profusion of plays grappling with war on North American stages, written and performed under very different conditions.
This roundtable event brings together a panel of playwrights whose innovative work has stimulated the expanding corpus of “war plays” -- Judith Thompson (Palace of the End), George Brant (Grounded), and Stephan Wolfert (Cry Havoc). They will reflect on the enduring power of live dramatic performance for thinking through contemporary culture's relationship to war, and consider what new forms and strategies are needed to face war's new realities.
Judith Thompson is a two-time winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for White Biting Dog and The Other Side of the Dark. In 2006 she was invested as an Officer in the Order of Canada, and in 2008 she became the first Canadian to be awarded the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for her play Palace of the End.
George Brant’s plays include Grounded, Elephant’s Graveyard, Into the Breeches! and Marie and Rosetta; he has received a Lucille Lortel Award, an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, an Edinburgh Fringe First Award, the Smith Prize and the Keene Prize for Literature.
Stephan Wolfert, US Army '86-'93, left a career in the military for a life in the theatre after seeing Shakespeare's Richard III. Stephan is the Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Veterans and the Veterans Center for the Performing Arts, and he is the creator of DE-CRUIT: a program to reintegrate military Veterans using classical actor training. Stephan recently performed his one-man show Cry Havoc Off-Broadway in NYC.