Program in Narrative Medicine Presents Theater of War at Columbia University

Mar 24, 2011, 09:19 ET from Program in Narrative Medicine

Classic Plays Depict the Psychological and Physical Wounds of War on Warriors

NEW YORK, March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Program in Narrative Medicine, part of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, in association with Theater of War Productions, will be presenting Theater of War at the Miller Theater on the Columbia University campus on Tuesday, April 5, 2011, at 7 p.m. This performance of Theater of War, a reading of scenes from Sophocles' Ajax, marks the first major public performance in New York City of this groundbreaking theatrical experience.

Tony Award and Academy Award nominee Amy Ryan, in the dual roles of Athena and Tecmessa, heads up a seasoned cast that features: Josh Lucas as Ajax/Agamemnon, Ty Jones as Teucer, and William Jackson Harper as the Chorus. Theater of War is directed, translated and facilitated by Bryan Doerries and produced by Phyllis Kaufman. Tickets will be free to the public, and the performance will be followed by comments from a diverse group of panelists and a town-hall discussion.

Theater of War presents readings of Sophocles' Ajax and Philoctetes to military and civilian communities across the United States and Europe. These ancient plays timelessly and universally depict the psychological and physical wounds inflicted upon warriors by war. Using Sophocles' plays to forge a common vocabulary for openly discussing the impact of war on individuals, families, and communities, these events are aimed at generating compassion and understanding between diverse audiences. 

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to present Theater of War to the Columbia community," said Dr. Rita Charon, Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine. "This unique presentation, which has already had an impact on military personnel throughout the United States, will no doubt resonate with those who are able to experience it, veterans and civilians alike. Our program is predicated on the belief that narrative competency is a key to successful care, and presenting Theater of War is a natural extension of our message and mission."

"We're excited and pleased that the Program in Narrative Medicine recognizes the value of bringing Theater of War to the diverse Columbia University community," said Phyllis Kaufman, Producing Director of Theater of War Productions. "It has been suggested that ancient Greek drama was a form of storytelling, communal therapy, and ritual reintegration for combat veterans by combat veterans. This is a wonderful opportunity to honor that tradition of storytelling, and engage the Columbia University community in a dialogue about the seen and unseen wounds of war."

Event Details

When:  Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 7 p.m.

Where:  Miller Theatre, Columbia University Campus, 2960 Broadway, New York, NY

Tickets:  Free to the public. General admission. Reservation information is available at:

About the Program in Narrative Medicine

Through narrative training, the Program in Narrative Medicine helps health care professionals and educators to improve the effectiveness of care by developing the capacity for attention, reflection, representation, and affiliation with patients and colleagues. In addition to training second and fourth year medical students at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in narrative competency, the program offers a graduate degree in Narrative Medicine, intensive workshops, and programs and services designed to foster collaboration between the schools of the Columbia University Medical Center. For more information, visit

About Theater of War Productions      

Theater of War is an innovative, participatory event that is intended to increase awareness of post-deployment psychological health issues, disseminate information regarding available resources, and foster greater family and troop resilience. To date, Theater of War Productions has delivered over 125 performances at more than 50 military sites throughout the United States and Europe. Nearly 25,000 service members, veterans, and their families have attended and participated in Theater of War performances and discussions to date. Visit Theater of War's website to find more information about the project, watch a short video of a performance, and find out about recent and upcoming performances. You can also find Theater of War on Facebook:

Program in Narrative Medicine - Scott Alderman, 212-305-9473,
Theater of War Productions - Phyllis Kaufman, 718-624-0350,

SOURCE Program in Narrative Medicine