War Stories: A Female Philoctetes

  • Cruciform Lecture Theatre, UCL Gower St London, England, WC1E United Kingdom

The Aquila Theatre Company is proud to announce that YouStories, the innovative program that uses arts and humanities to explore the ancient and modern narratives of war, will present War Stories: A Female Philoctetes, a program of staged readings from Aquila’s A Female Philoctetes, performed by British and American combat veterans at University College London (UCL) on 30 June, 2015.  The readings will be accompanied by veteran/audience discussion led by Professor Peter Meineck of New York University. Here, veterans will add their particular insights into this ancient work while sharing their experiences of being at war and coming home.  War Stories will begin at 18:00 in the Cruciform Lecture Theatre.  Tickets are free and can be reserved via Eventbrite here.
 
YouStories is part of a large American national public program that has visited over 120 towns in 34 states reaching over 120,000 people. In 2012, Aquila was invited to perform at the White House to highlight veterans’ issues and on June 6th will be performing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The War Stories event at UCL will be the first time the program has included both British and American veterans and is the only appearance of this special program in the UK.
 
YouStories is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, New York University and NYU London. In addition to performances, staged readings, film and reading groups, public talks and special events, the program also includes a specially developed app and web platform (www.youstories.com) designed to allow people to upload their own video stories to be archived at the Library of Congress. This innovative app was just given the Award of Distinction in the 21st Annual Communicator Awards.
 
Aquila Theatre is a 24 year-old professional theatre company based in New York. Originally founded in London in 1991, Aquila moved to New York in 1999 and has gone on to become the foremost producer of touring classical theatre in the US and a major force in innovative national public programming, using classical material to address important social issues. Aquila’s work has been staged for the President and First Lady of the United States at the White House, for members of the US Supreme Court, The National Council on the Arts, at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and at hundreds of theatres, museums, libraries and colleges throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. 
 
In this project Aquila will place a special focus on women veterans by reading Sophocles’ play Philoctetes (translated by Peter Meineck – Hackett Publishing 2012) from a female perspective. While on a mission, Philoctetes is inflicted with an incurable and insufferable injury.  The soldier’s comrades cannot bear to hear the cries of pain or the sight of the wound. They maroon the injured soldier, sailing away and forgetting him, that is until ten years later when they learn that the war cannot be ended without Philoctetes’ help. Sophocles tells the story of how the young son of Achilles must choose between the enigmatic and resolute Philoctetes or the machinations of the wily Odysseus. Philoctetes captures a reality for many combat veterans who have faced such moral and ethical dilemmas or have been physically or mentally wounded, and these issues are as relevant today as they were to the Greeks 2,500 years ago. 
 
War Stories: A Female Philoctetes is based on Aquila’s production of the play performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in April 2014, adapted and directed by Desiree Sanchez, Artistic Director of Aquila Theatre.
 
Tickets for War Stories: A Female Philoctetes can be reserved here.