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David Gaskin, S.O.S. Crown Heights program manager, facilitates the discussion for Theater of War, April 6, 2017 at Brooklyn Public Library, Crown Heights (photo by Gregg Richards)

The central concern in Sophocles’s Antigone is a dead body — that of Polyneices, who was a son of Oedipus and died fighting in battle against his own brother. Antigone, one of Polyneices’s sisters, insist on burying her brother’s body, despite an edict from the king that forbids it. In her actions and her words, she points out that human laws are not always ethical or just. By the end of the play, almost all the characters are dead.

It’s not hard to understand why Bryan Doerries would hear echoes of Antigone in the 2014 murder of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. The cops left Brown’s body lying in middle of a hot street for four hours. The encounter was defined by and resulted in more violence. And it drove home, as too many others have before and since, the divergence between morality and legality in this country.

Doerries, the artistic director of Theater of War, will explore these connections in Antigone in Ferguson, which is in fact being staged in Brooklyn; the show is the latest project in his role as an NYC Public Artist in Residence, exploring war and community issues through theater. Co-produced by the Brooklyn Public Library, the adaptation will feature dramatic readings by a slew of high-profile actors from the TV show The Wire — Reg E. Cathey, Frankie Faison, Deirdre Lovejoy, and Sonja Sohn — as well as a gospel choir comprised of “citizens, police officers, activists, and members of the faith community from Ferguson and Brooklyn.” The free, one-time show will take place on a playground in Brownsville and be followed by a discussion about how underserved communities can heal from violence. It should be moving and truly unique.

When: Saturday, July 15, 7pm (RSVP)
Where: Howard Playground (60 Glenmore Avenue, Brownsville, Brooklyn)

More info here.

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Jillian Steinhauer

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art...