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 Maurice Decaul (Dijla Wal Furat, Between the Tigris and the Euphrates). They will reflect on the enduring power of live dramatic performance, as a site and a medium for thinking through contemporary culture’s relationship to war. And ask: what new forms and strategies are needed for facing 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.
Maurice Decaul, a former marine, is the Theatre Communications Group’s first artist in residence. His plays have been produced in New York and internationally, and his writing has been featured in the New York Times, The Daily Beast, Sierra Magazine, Epiphany, Callaloo, Narrative, and The Common.