Last week, on Roosevelt Island, the FDR Four Freedoms Park Conservancy and CEO Howard Axel staged Theater of War, an abstract from Sophocles’s Ajax. In a staged reading, a panel of stars rubbed raw the complexities between and within which humanity struggles in violent conflict. It was, at once, intimate and universal.
by David Stone
All Photographs: Irina Hage, Irina Island Images
Humanity in the Theater of War
As reported here last week, “Sophocles’s Ajax is a masterful work of art that explores the depths of human emotion and the complexities of moral and ethical dilemmas.”
As the cast worked through Theater of War, they did not hold back their emotions. All wounds were opened.
The humanity of the piece absorbed the audience, even on a chilly evening in the park.
In a lively discussion after the performance, everyone stayed and made their presence and experience a part of the human drama.
No two people have done more for Roosevelt Island than Judith Berdy (in red) and Howard Axel, she through her persistent advocacy of everything Roosevelt Island and him through reimagining the park as a place of refuge, art and serenity.
It was the only sunny day in a stretch of cold and rain, but the conservancy came prepared.
The hand warmers served as a reminder that visitors in the park are not just tourists wandering through. They are guests, welcomed and warmed.
But back to the play.
Theater of War is filled with powerful metaphors and symbolism, ranging from the bloodstains on Ajax’s sword to the fierce thunderstorm that rages throughout the story. These elements add depth and complexity to the characters and their motivations, often revealing their hidden fears, passions, and regrets.
On a September evening on Roosevelt Island, it was all about humanity, our weaknesses and strengths but, most of all, our shared unity and compassion.