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tv   Book Discussion on The Theater of War  CSPAN  December 25, 2015 9:43am-11:18am EST

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>> all right, thank you. >> robby, i think she was a plant for the bookseller. [laughter] >> my name is todd allen on the u.s. history teacher here in jackson. and i appreciate the attention that we are putting on the so-called cold cases, but i just wanted someone to stand up and remind us that we have a very hot case in mississippi, july 8, this summer, jonathan sanders was riding his horse's at night because it was cool enough to do that. the stories vary but there was some altercation with the police, and he was killed by kevin harrington, part-time police officer in stonewall mississippi. kevin harrington is still free, and jonathan sanders is dead.
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in mississippi black lives did not matter. >> i am senator david jordan from greenwood who attended the emmett till trial and have written from a cotton field to the state senate and include one chapter in my book which has been not the bestseller but a very good seller. but -- >> it's for sale, too, in the bookstore so you all should go buy one of his books affect. >> yes. so i attended the trial but the experience that i had there on the outside forward where the news media were where my first time meeting and african-american congressman named davis was with mrs. teal and i was just a freshman that
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mississippi college state, college at that time. and we were asked to give a report. sargasso 25 cents a gallon. we headed for summer mississippi but when we arrived there worth staying around on the outside for a few minutes a beautiful lady walked up to his well-dressed and reporter said we're going to ask you some questions. whether emmett till will get a fair trial in mississippi. and she said, well, i don't know. they asked her again. she said, i have with me charles diggs all the way from detroit, michigan. the questioner was asking i did not we had any blank back to congressman. that was openly set on the outside were went in to the trial. included a chapter emmett till store and i got included in my book which is, it's out there
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who just want people to know that i'm a living witness of the trial. everybody in the senate knows that because they are pressured to buy the book i've written on emmett till. and i've had the highways named after emmett till, but we requested, and unfinished, more than a decade ago that civil rights history should be taught in the public school system. but the believe it or not people are reluctant to talk about. i'm talking about both african-americans and white americans as well. i think we'll have to amend that and make it so it shall be taught in the public school system so everybody is learning about the history of the mississippi delta and other parts of mississippi. thank you very much. [applause] >> that was a great panel. we will have to clue the room
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now to get ready for the next one, but before we do that please help me thank all of our participants. we hope you will see the next panel. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> you for watching booktv, nonfiction authors and books every weekend on c-span2. television for serious readers. >> next from last month miami book fair, bryan doerries is joined by paul giamatti and david strathairn. >> good evening. apparently the miami book fair society has been renamed after me. so i think you all for that and thank you all for braving the
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monsoons attractive for joining us tonight. up had to be representing the founding members of the book fair is literary society. we are the fair's newest membership category for young professionals, special welcome to our membership in the amazing seated in the front. if you want to find out more about it and join us for future events please go on to the website. our purpose like all the other supported for positions is twofold. we want to make sure that the book there remains -- and said we want to promote book culture in miami year-round to issues of events to keep our groups together. book fair is one of those times where you wish you had cloning technology, be everywhere at once but however there is always c-span, so thank you to them for 18th year of coverage. even with all the wonderful programming going on tonight, just a place i would rather be
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other than he with our distinguished guests. exactly a week ago last saturday i was in paris in the middle of the chaotic aftermath of the terrorist attacks. we all know, even after the talks as a we live in a world where the very nature of war and tom is changing everyday. today it is my image pledged to introduce three gentlemen who are bringing their incredible talents to bear on classic theater and incorporate it into a very relevant modern issue. we are -- to have a phenomenal resume so pretty much capital. you know who they are go briefly introduced in both the first is bryan doerries, writer, director and translator and most important the founder of theater of war come a project that represents the readings of ancient greek place ever since then to service members, veterans, caregivers and families helping them initiate conversations about the visible and invisible wounds of war.
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he is a self-described evangelist for classical literature and its relevant to our lives today because forthcoming book, "the theater of war: what ancient greek tragedies can teach us today" will be published in september. our next guest needs no introduction as well. he was so they recognized after paul giamatti. he -- yes. [applause] an accomplished actor both onstage and on the screen, he has too many credits to mention, some of my favorites though are cinderella man, sideways, and, of course, love and mercy. our final guest is academy award nominated actor david strathairn. yes. [applause] you know him from such great lows as a edward r. murrow and goodnight and good luck, and also in steven spielberg's lincoln. however, for me the most disturbing thing is being backstage within an feeling like i'm some of an episode of the
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blacklist. [laughter] what is incredible about it is has been involved in the theater of war since its inception and he is that it's among the most vital and rewarding experiences of his acting career. so without further ado i will get off the stage, turn over the mic to bryan and let them introduce our actress. thank you. [applause] [cheers and applause] >> thank you so much. my name is bryan doerries, and founder of "the theater of war" in my book is not forthcoming in september. it was published in september. that's why we are here. and it is on sale. we are delighted to be performing a 40 tonight from the book.
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the two actors, paul and david have joined he came down from new york city this afternoon to perform for you, are part of a larger company now close to 200 actors who when they get the call for me to want to fly in the back of the plane, stay and hold it in, perform greek tragedy for a thousand marines come in and talk about their feelings, they jump, they jump at the operative because they believe like i do there's nothing more important that we could ever do with our craft than what we do not tonight with the project that we perform. in our profession it's rare to get we are of service with her talents comes with be able to be of service, to make a difference in people's lives is significant to you were on. you were not mandatory to come. we appreciate your presence. i presume you came seeking something and so tonight we're going to perform several such of my book, "the theater of war:
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what ancient greek tragedies can teach us today" which was published in september, and then when we are done with the reading i'm going to come back out and joined actors and open it up to discussion. both about what we do and what we've experienced, the communities we perform for the pentagon, shelters, churches, guantanamo bay, cuba, the middle east to your own personal reactions as you've heard it tonight. we will run all of the beyond our because we want to leave room for people to be heard, and without further ado i'm going to turn things over to paul and david for the reading of my book, "the theater of war." [applause] >> learning through suffering. in the fall of fourth grade i had a small role in the production of euripides medea, or local committee called in virginia or my father taught and
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experiments in psychology. i played one of the ill-fated boys slaughtered and other pathological jealous mother. i can still remember my one line, which i belted backstage with abandon. no, no. the sword is falling. director, a short fire german man with spiky want to end a black leather jacket always draped over his shoulders like a cape would scream at the casting result of the top of his lungs into we delivered our lines with the appropriate zeal. zeal. whenever our performance is. whenever our performances reached the desired fever pitch he would jump up from his chair and explode with delight. now, we are cooking. [laughter] during daytime performances from local high school students, the board of in the theater was as probable as the thick layer of humidity generated by sweaty adolescents whispering and blowing spit balls in a shadow waiting for the agony to and.
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whenever i entered the stage wearing a tight old polyester tunic which clung to my eyes and pitched mercilessly, i heard rippling waves of laughter through the crowd. what was so funny, i wondered? squinting into the stage lights. after the show closed after task order one and my fellow actors confirmed that the laughter had, in fact, been at my expense. unaccustomed to wearing a tunic, i had provide a high school audience with an extended full frontal view of my underwear while perched atop a large granite boulder. seeing my fruit of the looms was likely the most memorable event in those students mandatory encounter with euripides. most of us probably developed an allergy to ancient greek drama in high school when some well intended an english teacher part of to replace like oedipus rex, antigone, prometheus bound, and
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rigid victorian translations, or force us to watch seemingly endless films featuring british actors in it was getting she's in golden sandals proclaiming the refrain -- behind masks. your early encounters with the ancient greeks that you can ambition to avert pickup line again. you are not alone. aeschylus is known that humans learn through suffering, but for most of us, studying ancient greek drama is just an exercise in suffering with no educational value. one hope of this book is to administer an antidote to the obligatory high school did on ancient greek tragedies. >> one concept that gets built into our heads in high school is state, the word for faith in ancient greek means horse.
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it was worshiped in the form of three goddesses, the spinner, the outlaw, and the untenable. fate was older and more powerful than all of the gods combined and the entire cosmos was subject to its laws. no one left above it or be onto. yet the greek concept of faith as it is encountered in greek tragedy, much settled that many of us generally understand. in tragedy the concept of fate is not mutually exclusive of the existence of free will, nor does the ancient idea of destiny negate the role of personal choices and human agencies. in 1976, the year i was born, my father was diagnosed with type two diabetes, and insidious, cruel disease that has meant his mind and body slowly, almost imperceptibly over a period of 33 years. despite of the diagnosis he
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adamantly refused to adjust his lifestyle though he knew this choice would eventually come out a deadly cause. the nurse a newsfeed diverse. and the bones in his ankles collapsed. then came the entry of illusions, the festering sores, about a collide, the kitty kelley, daily dialysis treatment, kidney transplant, septic infections, the endocarditis, the blind, dementia, seizures, horrifying hallucinations and finally after much suffering, a protracted, terrifying death doing what she believed that gaggle of black raven like a demons were swarming all around him waiting to take his soul to hell. the word diabetes comes from the greek word, to run through. the name derives from the signature symptoms of the disease, an unquenchable thirst combined with the constant need to urinate. water runs through diabetes.
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a condition results from a deficiency in the pancreas which normally produces insulin, a hormone that regulates sugar levels in the blood. without enough insulin sugars run wild kolzig among other symptoms extreme thirst while subtly choking off the blood supply to nurse and the disease leaves no organ unscathed. type ii diabetes is a fitting metaphor for the human condition portrayed in ancient greek tragedy and for the interdependence of human action and fate. those who are diagnosed with the disease often this is a genetic predisposition to develop it. it is written into their dna like an ancient intergenerational curse. and yet what diabetics choose to do with the knowledge of the condition has a direct impact upon their lives, and upon those who love them. thus, in spite of the curse of the disease, diabetics still play a role in shaping their
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destiny. faith describes the cards we are dealt. the portion were given at birth. tragedy takes how our actions shape our destiny. no one ever said that change is easy but my father believed it was impossible. ..
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>> a few blocks from where i had groan up. i brought him a chocolate milk shake from monty's dinner we had frequented. we had run out of things to said. i didn't notice his absence through a fade of black. we stopped in the darkness for a time and looked at each other with understanding and regret. finally after my father closed
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his eyes, i tossed my coat over my shoulder and slow sli approached his bed and looking at him for last time. suddenly without opening his eyes, he reached up and grabbed my arm pulling me towards his face with the desperation. same thing is going to happen to you and your father. it's fate, it's fate is his dementia talking and not him. whenever i heard in my body we resisted the idea that humans
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resisted the ability, thinking about the way my father had interpreted fate placing concept at the center at self-destructive, self-view, the objective of an shient greek tragedy was radically different frn what we have imagined for thousands of years. fate requires human action or inaction in order to be fulfilled. tragedy was designed to promote a possibility of change. in other words, the fate that awaits was avoidable and so was my fathers, so is yours and so
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is mine. the words sophomore comes from two greek words. during my sophomore or second year at small liberal school in ohio, i determined to take on the entire classical tripod, greek, lat inand -- latin and he brew. hebrew was another story and i could not find a professional with the time and inclient occasion to teach me the language of the old testament so i had to improvise. i started teaching myself the alphabet, training my eyes to read from right to left.
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i hounded the one member of the religion faculty who might have been able to help with the hope of my conveying my unflagging passion and dedication. a door opened and a master appeared one afternoon i received an unexpected phone call from professor dean. in america's provessor culman might be able to take me on as a student but i would go meet with him to see if i was a good fit. as an under graj wait she had studied with dr. cullman and knew firsthand the level of commitment she required of her students. the tone of voice conveyed optimism tempered by the possibility that after meeting me dr. cullman might not be inclined to move forward with the independent study.
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dr. cullman lived on a mile of campus. remained a figure, classical european and education that had reached its heights during the late 19th century. rumor had it that dr. cullman knew as many as 20 languages and according to one story in his career he had thought 11 classes over the course of one semester in five different departments, classic, psychology, religion. the academic distinctions were arbitrary.
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child later completed undergraduate work in switzerland studying under martin bober. his house in rural ohio overflowed with broken furniture, over the stairwell leading to basement a fading poster of albert einsnein was larger than life. set complete essays of collective shakespeare and the decline and fall of the rom and empire among many other that dr. cuma believed to read. each time he started reading the books, he started reading again. once i started asking questions as a young student, he described
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what people were memorized. the students received in order of their rank, telephone smallest of mistakes, instructor would cut him off by saying, i'm sorry, but you have no promise. [laughter] >> and pointing to the back of the room. i vividly remember the day that i submitted myself to a 45-minute interview at dr. cuman's home as he reviewed my febal academic qualifications at his dining room. expecting me through black cock bottle glasses. it appeared to look straight through it. we began our studies in latin when you called elementary,
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greek in what you called middle school and we were promising students hebrew in high school, you have only one year of greek and no latin. what makes you think that you are qualified to study hebrew. his questioning continued in this fashion for at least another 30 minutes as he depicted the many challenges of hebrew gram ar and pronunciation apparently he had conducted his own background check that i was a disciplined student with atroshous handwriting who probably struggled with a mild undiagnosis dislexiai listened intently to his every word. in greek well, also silent.
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after he finally seemed to have expanded all possible argument he leaned closer, paused and said, but if you are willing to endure hardships that we will undertake together, i would be delighted to have one last student. that was the day my true education began. for three years i visited dr. cullman every day to study classical languages and course that i had only dreamed off when i enrolled in college.
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my parents enrolled in a speedy reading course. dr. cullma i would read even more. at the end of the lesson we would spread out hebrew, latin and german, along with comment aries. comparing translations and digressing for hours. the name for this meticulous
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method of reading almost completely lost to the world is exit jesus, a great word to lead out or to lead out from. rather than scanning for surface level comprehension, the goal to extract layers upon layers to careful analysis and interpretation. as we move through sections and later sections, portions of epics, st. agustín's confessions, dr. puman would recommend with provocative session. before i could respond, he would answer. he was asked by barbara walters in the 20/20 interview. why he wrote poetry, he replied to save the words.
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that is also the job of celebrities. the loving words made salvaging some from obscurity while discarding others. nice in latin ig no -- ignorance. the greeks had at least three verbs that meant to love, each with subtle change of meaning. hebrews the seed of emotion derives from the throat.
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resides in the chest and guides decision making. i learned many things but perhaps the most important what i read in classical context. we treated this daily exchange of current events as an integral part of the session connecting the past to the morning. i vividly remember the day that new york city replaced time on a black and white layout with a large color photo on the front page, top of the fold, judging from dr. puma's reaction, western civilization had abruptly come to an end. [laughter] >> dr. cuman's home reading meant working, patiently, forging connections across
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languages, cultures, religion and time. however, it also meant stepping back from a text to suggest what is said. we would read a passage from a text and close the book and spoke for cigarette and think what have i just read but you do not smoke? the secret of reading to close, ptsb is from bc. those marines who attended the first military of my translation s in a hyatt ballroom in san diego came on their own volition, they had showzen
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dinner over pirates game. the bar buffet certainly help draw the crowd as presence of several well-known actors but no one who showed up that night had any idea of what was about to happen. when they discovered four actors in their street clothes sitting at a long time in front of microphones, wielding scrips instead of battle axes, but 20 minutes into the performance as bill camp the fierce, new york actor whaled and schemed -- screamed and said a man must die in honor or die on an honorable
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death. something in the audience seemed to shift. all of the cell phones disappeared. every one in the room laned forward and locked on, a military term that subscribes intensely at something or someone without blinking for a long period of time. fully listening with every fiber of their beingings, -- beings, while other smurked with recognition. it was as if they had found their intended audience, almost 2500 years after they had first been performed. there's a theory today most notably advanced the award winning psychiatrist who has spent his life to working with
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veterans, the greek strategy in particular arose and evolved in the western world from the need to hear and tell the veterans' story. the trojan remain distant. he merged as a powerful tool, an ancient military technology designed those who had been to war make meaning of their fragmented memories and evenly distribute the burden upon what they brought from battle. before the performance began that night in san diego while scanning t crowd with lighting and wall-to-wall carpeting. older more seasoned ones closer
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to the front. though, there were women the majority were male. which should not come as no surprise as it's 94% male. one of the woman caught my ie, she looked deeply into my eyes and said with an unsettling blend and familiarity, hi, bryan, i'm bonnie. we are happy to be here. after an appropriate amount of
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time had passed i attempted to retrieve my hand from bonnie's but she grabbed it tightly leaning closer and said with suspicion and conviction. you had better be here to perform an act of love. we are, i said. i repeated myself and smiled. we are. she slowly released my hand from her power grip and would turn to her seat in the front row flanked on other side on what i knew were the other generals' wives. i have learn that had the wives of marines corpse hold a special place of prominent in their communities, one that affords them power and statute that's not always extended to spouses
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of generals in the other services. the performance began. vocal cords were sledded shredded. women throughout the room wiped tears from their faces. how can i say something that should never be spoken? you would rather die than hear what i'm about to say, a divine magness -- maddens and our house is a slaughter house. evil things to come. >> called for the deaths not just of the generals who
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betrayed him but every warrior on the army. >> i call upon the furry, avenge humans and see to their endless suffering, has destroyed. turn your eyes on those evil men, snatch them with their talents and just as i die at my own end, may that they also be murdered by their own blood. feeding time. gorge yourselves on the men. spare no soldier. minutes later, audience had covered their ears. calling out for death to visit him and release him.
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[screams] >> your prayerer will not be honored by the god. an evil thing to come. the paint as well as under. i feel like moving upward. don't go, please don't go. you understand, you know me. stay with me. [screams] >> where are you? why after all these years of
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calling have you not appeared? >> it was followed by a longer powerful silence and then overwhelming applause and standing ovation that lasted several minutes. the play had clearly struck a nerve bus it was unclear what would happen next. to help break the ice of post reading discussion i had identified three members of a community, spouse, marine and psychologist. one of the panelists, a beautiful perfectly woman in her mid-40's with blond hair and striking blue eyes, leaned into the mic and leaned into the audience and said. >> hello, i'm the proud mother
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of a marines. my husband went away four times for war and each time he returned, dragging invisible bodies into our house. the war came home with him and a quote from a play a home is a south house. >> the marines all held their breath. a small group congregated and waiting out, continued with her remarks. she try today convince to help save her husband. >> how can i say that should never be spoken. you would rather die than hear what i'm about to say. >> for a moment, from the body language in the room it seemed that marshel might be right. she was speaking the truth of
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experience as caregiver and military spouse and she was always opening a space for other spouses in the room to speak their personal truth. after the panelists had finished their brief opening remarks and had received strong support and round of applause i thanked them for their candor and bravery and they turn today face the audience. now it's time to hear from you. >> were there moments in the play that resinated? >> waited to see who, if anyone would be willing to stand up and speak, after a long awkward silence a few people stood up and offered predictable about how we should support veterans and place our faith in god. this was followed by a heavier silence. finally, a short nun who u -- i
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had found and stood with speech, clearly debating what was on her mind. while reading carefully and deliberately from her notice. i would like to repeat a line from the play that i heard countless men say to me in multiple wars. witness how the generals have destroyed me, the assistant identify's shut up in the front row not even bothering to to the mic, how dare you say that our husbands made this possible, this is about healing and not assigning blame. >> crowd recoiled. just when it seemed that things
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couldn't get any worse marshal jumped. >> i can definitely relay to that line too. over the years my husband has said that to me. at this point the tension in the room had risen to such a boil that i started scan forking the nearest exit in case in the heat of the argument that seemed to escalate and we need today make a get away. accusing her and the nun of undermining authority and respond sounding the bit least defensive. i am simply repeating something that the navy seal said in the past. before i knew it, there were at least 30 people lined up to speak at the microphones.
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each person whether or not he or she responded directly to the nun or generals' wives, without consulting them. as if the marines and their spouses had known their entire lives. such rhetoric that it seemed. >> in the months following i began thinking of other audiences, could be of service of those who serve our country. as i began looking at the tragedies, certain place seemed as they might have something important to say to people working in professions that brought them in to close daily
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suffering and death but who have no outlet for acknowledging the moral and emotional stress of their job, as the number of projects, expanded the ancient plays would lead me and my theater company outside the wire to audiences, churching, hospices and homeless shelters. illuminate the real-world relevance of the place. >> at the end of woman the most overlooked and just mated play, the scene that schemes to the ethics and emotions surrounding death and dying with timeless power. a man in the throws of unimaginable pain asks his teenage don to -- boy to help him die. the man threatens to disown his son if he doesn't fulfill the
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dying wish to be burned alive. a greek hero whose life is pushed beyond the boundaries. he developed divine aspirations at an early age. he might one day become a god so he spent time attempt to go fulfill it such as slaying and wrestling the lion, the fierce three-headed hound that guards. when death comes, it catches him by surprise. his jealous wife, accidentally poisoned him with what she believed was a love position.
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gasping his last breath, teller her to possess the power to make him loved her after her beauty began to fail. lesson number one -- [laughter] >> at the beginning of the play, returns from one of the recent conquest with the stunning young war bride. after laying eyes on the girl, dianera sends her husband a robe, soap desperately hope to go regain his action, gladly accepts the welcoming gesture and slip it is robe over his broad shoulders but as soon as sunlight touch it is fabric the poison garment into his knees straight through the flesh tearing through lig amounts and
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tendons, ago on any, calls for soldiers to put him out of misery. >> where are you from? you call yourself greeks? unjustice, unworthy of men. i wore myself down for the bone living a country of monsters. now i am the one moaning on the ground, my side in pain, will one of you please come quickly and visit me with a sword or a torch. >> he summons what little energy remains. he wishes to die a great death,
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one that will live on in legend for all times. so he calls his teenage son to his side and asks for his assistance. he grabs his hand and forces him to swear an oath to carry his body to the top, the sacred mountain and set it on fire. father, what are you saying, what are you asking me to do? >> what must be done or be someone else's son. >> i ask yourself again what do you want me to do, be your murderer and stain the pollution of your blood? >> i'm asking you to be my doctor, heal the affliction, kill my disease. >> for some people attempting to exert control over the process of dying means taking narcotics without food and water.
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with the great hero it meant going out in a blaze of flames. aimed at cementing his status, transforms into a god in moment, others contend that he simply dies. nothing in the surviving script resolves the question. he knew how to make a dramatic entrance, one that would be remembered in centuries to come. >> one of these projects end of life presents readings of scenes and medical settings as a catalyst for open dialogue about
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the emotions of end of life care. after one such reading at harvard medical school from audience to students and medical professionals a male hospice nurse with long white hair wearing a faded jean jacket approached the microphone in the center, he nervously said -- >> forgive me, i've never spoken in public in my life but i feel compelled to apologize to all of the doctors in the audience who do not get to be with their patients when they die. i have a hard job but i witness miraculous every day. >> the nurse had no intention of glamorizing death. deprived of experiencing an
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intrical part of life, i have never in all my years of practicing medicine questioned my use of eu th ination. dr. in the west are teached and starting in medical schools they build up walls to protect themselves from unwanted emotions so i hope a performance of extreme suffering such as depiction of death might touch doctors and other health professionals in unexpected ways opening up dialogue about the challenges of witnessing suffering. by bringing bringing the end-ofe
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project, we hope professionals and other caregivers to come out of the shadows and speak the truth of their experience, to create a forum where their unique voices and per perspectis could be heard. when the hospice nurse spoke, i knew the project had the potential to create the conditions for a conversation that many people wanted but few knew how to start, an open discussion of death and dying framed by empathy and experience. as outside the wire began to tour with the play, one of the most striking and insightful medical professional to step out of the shadow was care doctor at the university of virginia medical center namedlessly.
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he had luke -- leukemia. begged her to ask the question that fifth graders contemplate. as fate would have it, blackhall ended up studying medicine during the aids epidemic, not until the third year of rotation they knew they were dealing with
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infectious disease. belleview hospital was filled with quote, young, terribly suffering dying men. she and her colleagues felt helpless in the face of this modern plague as it ravaged the city's gay population. she start today question what it meant to be a doctor when all her patients were going to die. to cure everybody, then you are 100% going to be failing of the long-term. so how do you become a doctor for mortals, the ethical issues surrounding was still new. one of her instructors had been teaching how to administer for the diego, the directive was to preserve life at all cost. blackhall had an experienced that changed relationship to medicine and to death. on her first day working as a medical student at new york city
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hospital a resident brought her into a room to see a patient. >> the woman had an ng tube to it, nasal gastric tube. black stuff was pouring out of it. her family is standing around her and they are dabbing her fore head with a cloth because they didn't know what else what to do. we looked and walked out and closed the door. a resident turn today me and said, she'll be dead tonight and she was the next morning. >> what haunted blackhall about the suffering woman is nobody layed a helping hand. no one. so it's physicians had no business lingering in her room or offering to ease her suffering, blackhall arose that
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doctors don't treat death. not long after ward while black blackwal will encounteed a patient with shivers, he had been left to die in his room intensively without medical care. she went and got him a blanket even though she -- he wasn't her patient. when a doctor attending to a dying man by giving the thing that he needed most, blackhall discovers to what she now refers to as her calling. blackall connects witnessing her father's death and the suffering with her choice to specialize in
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medicine in managing the pain and symptoms associated with serious illness. had been comfortable to -- talking about death, dying is a part of living, so she isn't afraid of death, she is able to go on the rooms and be there with people. be there and somehow that was really helpful an important. even if all it took was get the guy a blanket. >> he asks his son to be his doctor, he is not asking for medicine, humanized by his condition he is asking for his son to take his need seriously and treat him like a human from black-halls perspective. >> it's also about taking care of that lady in the room with the black liquid pouring out of
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the tube. one thing to say, she should be have assisted suicide, but you know what, she didn't have to suffer that much. knowing what we know now, the family didn't have been to be dapping her. it wasn't just bad ethics, it was crappy medical care. in the early days of theater of war i followed a hunch of ancient greek tragedies that gave me a relationship between theater but these days outside seemed more like the fire department, a call comes in and we deploy our actors to the community in need. first call came in 2011 after a tornado roughly three quarters
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of a mile wide, in the city of chaplin, missouri, destroying 7,000 apartments and homes in 32 minutes. george the state director's of corrections study today survey the damage. when he saw the indescribable wreckage, piles of cars stacked up like children's box and charges and nursing homes torn from foundations and debris schools and hospitals that once stood. he wrote to me, is there a story that might help the city of chaplin? >> i replied the book when he loses everything, children, scops and his health after a great win, convinced of his
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innocence jobe sits silently and asks god for an explanation but god does not answer. they condemn him and say they must have done something to deserve the terrible thing. but joe clings to the believe that he has done nothing wrong. at the end of the poem, god reveals himself in a disembodiyed voice and rebukes from not understanding his will. for thousands of years people
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have sought to story. we premiered the book project in goplim, missouri for more than a thousand people in a christian mega church then later on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the tornado we performed it in a high school auditorium. we used steven mitchell's dramatically translation. when the survivors of the tornado saw and heard their own experience as reflected in the performance of an an sheent -- ancient biblical, one year later to move forward with their lyes while living with respect. here is how people responded to the book. >> no matter what, when a person openly honestly pours out their heart and soul, i must listen
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without judgment or prejudice. i am a survivor. mid westerner, the goplin boy in me wants to hear the last word be okay. we got hurt and grieved and cleaned up and went to work. let's move on. >> people tell you they need to move on. maybe it's you that needs to move on. >> i lost my home to tornado to a tree and almost lost my life to six natural events. until the actors spoke his word. >> i talked to a lady after the tornado, she said she wished she had died instead of a friend. i think she was in so much pain i listened but i wish i could have known what to say.
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she lost hope, she definitely was -- all i could do is pray and i cried. now i wish i had said nothing and just held her. the words aren't always helpful. >> the text reminds us of our common humanity across time and generation. >> it's comforting to see that we're all humans. >> suffering transcends time. >> i have heard different variations in every community that we have visited regardless of language, culture or relij and what i have seen in the faces of audiences is public sense of relief that they are not the only people in the world to have felt such fear. they are not alone in the community, and not alone in the
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world and not alone across time. jf johnson put it after an early performing, the school of drama in new york city. >> knowing that ptsd goes back to bc gives me the feeling. [applause] >> thank you so much. we realize that it's been a long day for many of you and there's a party going on and it's miami and we've just talked about
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tragedy for an hour. [laughter] >> and we won't be offended if people walk out but we want to squeeze a little bit out of this because we never do anything without discussion so we are going to let it go for a few more minutes and we want to open it up to you, i found theater of war in 2008, we've done more than 500 performances all over the world, across 14 different projects and you know it's because of actors like paul and david that audiences open up in a way and for those of you who would like to say something to frame our discussion, brief discussion by asking a question that we ask all of our audience which is to say even though you heard today -- much of what you heard today was said in other places and the text you heard perform was from 2500 years ago, what did you relate to in this story that resinated with you as
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truthful to your own experience, now, there are microphones in the -- in the aisle here but in every audience no matter how big or small, whether we are in a bookstore or theater or a basketball court, or a field house, there's always one extremely kind person. [laughter] >> usually the most intelligent and attractive person in the room. [laughter] >> who puts us out of a misery of a long and awkward silence and i will wait until that incredibly attractive -- look, people are lining up. [laughter] >> purple shirt. >> yeah. >> he's a good-looking man. >> we would love to hear from you and we will take your questions and comments in the time that we have. most attractive. >> thank you, i'm retired
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neurologist and i have read both of dr. jonhan's books and i think they complement the work here very well. dr. shay has many examples as you had and, again, he says, you can't know what these people went through, you don't say i know your pain unless you also were a soldier, but my father came back from the second world war as a battle surgeon in the phillipines and in new guenie, but after reading the book i understand what some of the things were that bothered him all of his life and i thank the actors for really putting their soul into it.
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>> thank you. [applause] >> i just want to take two second to respond. i really appreciate you saying about your father and also the comment. dr. shay has been a major inspiration of the work, cheerleader and if you haven't read vietnam, please do because it's very important work. you can be the know another person's pain is the center of the work that we are doing. i mean, i went into this having lost my girlfriend, whi is covered in the book and my father which you heard a little bit about tonight and i felt as a human being so isolated, that no one could possibly feel my experience. i got this idea if i could put them in front of ad yepses that lived the experiences and healing hopefully will happen. i agree with the general idea that pain is unknowable, another
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person's pain is unknowable, that doesn't mean we should try stopping to understand. marines corpse veteran, he wrote for "the new york times" called the failure of imagination. >> last year. >> the basic idea was simply is the failure of imagination an empathy to -- for soldiers to say no one could possibly understand my experience other than those who were there even though that's an understandable impulse, it's an equal failure if not greater on the part of civilians to say how could i possibly know. this work is about as a general led the way, it's about building a bridge between, you know, two islands, two -- creating the possibility of if not knowing another person suffering
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understanding why they may feel the way they feel. >> i think -- i agree with you there. the two things that moved me the most and what dr. shay wrote in a kill irk es in vietnam he described the person who seemed fearless while in every battle and seems mysteriously untouched and the other men knew that and tended to stay around him but we don't know what happened when he got home and i think -- i wonder how many of these ended up like ajax. and also talked about in america the first thing they did on their way home where they're supposed to be going back to their wives and families is they engage in an act of war sacking a city on the way for no other
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reason than what they had always been doing. >> yeah. >> so that adjustment coming back it's clearly very difficult and we are seeing a lot and thank heavens we are able to listen. >> thank you so much, i really appreciate that. [applause] >> ma'am. >> i'm with literary press, i'm exhibiting here and i run journal and i think i took a psychology class and ajax was known to suicide coming in second, you know, and his disdisappointment when the symbol behind if you're not going to be first -- you might as well die. >> yeah. >> so i was wondering about, you know, how that fits in and also i was wondering, you guys are
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really outstanding actors and i was wondering why you guys are doing this, is part of the drive to become the very best. [laughter] >> i will say briefly, ajax is a play that we do most often on military base. we start 337 performance early this week or two nights ago, it's a play about a warrior after nine years of fighting, after losing his best friend, after taking his unit into the most forward and most dangerous of locations and losing lots of men ultimately when devalued and betrayed by his command, loses
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his grip on reality and kills a bunch of animals and is so consumed with shame over what he's done when he wakes up from his state and takes his own life. i've never seen anything in western literature that matches it. not only stage suicide in a century in which athenians saw 80 years of war, but the general seating in front row. but he takes us inside the mind of someone who is thinking about suicide, into the ideation and there's a passage with these actors, but i shall misthe light of day and sacred field that i played as children. that is everything because the notion that suicide is a weakness is pervasive, something
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that we as a culture still have to grapple with to our people who stand at our performances that have expressed that opinion, but in that moment you see that it's the greatest struggle that man has ever endured. the greatest struggle he has ever encountered, whether to live or to die. the plays are humanized by the great performances and great performers who sometimes sacrifice their career in order to deliver their performance. they will give up commercial work to do this work, but more the point the wisdom and insight that is we have gleaned and have come from audience members because they recognize themselves and are in the struggles. it's not a play about someone being passed over for an honor that flips out because he doesn't have first place. it's someone who is grieving the loss of his best friend and wants to process that grieve and
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is given to someone else that he doesn't feel was connected to that person. jonathan and others were now coming to consensus, clinical communities are coming that the signature wound of these wars is what we call moral betrayal. think about -- i think about all the ways that we could leave them on islands like on tv, leave them on sand dooms with weapons and the work is about how we get those people back in society and get back and heal. there's a lot of people behind you. [applause] ..
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i have to report on my state. we had to give the state tests, and our state is very cheap, so everything on the test is over 100 years old. so we don't actually have to pay any writers for the work. it's a bizarre world of operating in. some time to teach my kids contemporary stuff that maybe i
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should have something to say to a 14 year old, and live in their love of reading, at the same time they're being tested on stuff that is so old that the kids are very frustrated with. >> thank you. i appreciate it. i appreciate the struggle so much. there's a theory, greek drama was a form of training and initiation for late adolescence, for 16 through 18-year-olds were about to get their young men a trick you into the armed forces and begin participate in the civic discourse of the democracy. that kerry basically frames tragedy in a way where all of those young characters where he says every decision i make i would be wrong, they were thrust into these impossible ethical situation for which someone is going to die and it's going to be their fault. even if they do the right think
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they will be haunted the rest of their lives. that was a way of preparing young people for what it means to be an adult. it wasn't until my 20s when i lost my growth in data stored to face the decisions were the greeks started to dawn on me, friedrich nietzsche says in this wonderful absurdity mean-spirited essay criticizing classicism a late 19th century gold in one's late '20s what antiquity is begins to dawn on one. because he argues that experience is a prerequisite to human suffering is a pre-requisite understand antiquity. all of that is to say that there he puts force the course would have been adolescence. and the very place where the close order drill formation of the cadets who are matriculating to military took place, one of the places was a synchronized movement of the chorus make a
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better relationship with the very teenagers. and so anyway, all this is a i don't give up on teenagers in greek tragedy. [laughter] they were the intended audience. they were the intended audience, and my counter to that is they need to be in the room with soldiers, in the room of people who have experienced something and death. they need to be in the room with homeless shelters. the idea of experience is a prerequisite for understanding humanity should be part of our curriculum. i know you have to teach the test and i know this is a lot but there is a wealth of suffering happening in miami. we can be drawing on, we've only been here a little while. we have suffered a little bit, but no, no. [laughter] anyway, thank you so much for your comment. i'm going to let the actors now take over. >> with regard to what resonates with me i collected everything from the academic to the medical to the sacrifices in the
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military of friends and loved ones. and with the vast array of selections to choose from, the playlist from greek tragedies and comedies, and with such impassioned actors who, i mean, i don't understand how a 14 year old or a young adult could not relate to in some way that passion. because emotion and passion, that is articulate and presented visually and audibly, is something that may catch the students attention a lot better than what's right off the page in a high school classroom. and these plays were meant to be performed in the visual arts. and i always wondered about that when i was reading shakespeare, that a lot of people in my class include myself could not understand in grade school that. so why have these great plays
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and tragedies and comedies not been presented by modern actors that perhaps, you know, the younger generation can relate to better than a text in a language that may be difficult for them to understand? and so is there an effort, is there a project that you all are doing that is presenting this to a wider -- a wider audience? into the actors, would you become involved in such an impassioned character, and do you actually feel those emotions to a certain degree? because it seems to me that you'd have to peel them in the way that you're presenting them today. so is there a process you can eventually not feel such pain when you are performing speak with that's a big question. i want the answers -- the actors and whatever they would like out
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of that. paul? >> that's a hard question to answer. i don't know. >> why are the greeks being performed in america? >> this is rather, not very, well, only from what i've seen is it's the context in which these plays are presented. there's no bells and whistles here. there is no robes and there's no lights, music and the whole bells and with going to a play. there's something austere and simplistic and direct about the material. the material i think i found speaks most incisively when it's talking to an audience who knows it.
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that's not to say the general public doesn't understand tragedy and pain and fear and sacrifice and doubt, and all these things, you know, ridicule and humiliation. we all i think have a universal sense of that, but it's what bryan has discovered with these plays that when you take it to an audience that has experienced it, we know so much less than the audience does, and that the real drama of the event doesn't begin until we have stopped reading, and then here comes the real players. what is happening in the room is the most dramatic thing. i don't know why that greeks are not done more commercially. i don't know. >> we should mention there are three productions, almost consecutive. there's one in the west and the just finished after transferring. there was at this, medea, all
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done last year. the brits consider this part of their repertoire. they owned it. we are not in our adolescence with regard to any other art form. miami exemplifies that. why are we importing all of our classical work from great britain? why are they the ones that have ownership of the greeks? that's what keeps me up at night. >> at a time in our society, how long have we been at war? >> spot on. >> so the only thing, the only real experience i've had with any of this up with any of this up was when i took creative writing in high school. my created writing teacher decided shows antigone. usually a brilliant play to watch. i was sort of fascinated by the strategic, the idea that when you make a great play one of the
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rules is you cannot change the setting at all greek plays are only done in one site i found out to be very baffling because when you watch movies and stuff it moves around like, i watched the play people injured and they would tell the characters is about what was going on and i would be how the fluid move alone. so that was really kind of, i think the thrill for me with greek plays isn't, i did have to read it first of all. i got to watch it which is really the best way to do it. and second, just this sort of baffling way of how it's put together was really well done. i have a question for david. you are on the blacklist that i totally, totally love your show. what do you think this shows is about the way america and the fbi and the cia work today and what's with comments do you think it makes? >> i love how you slipped that in. very, very well played.
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[laughter] like this disposition on aristotle followed by what's james spader like? >> last night. >> i don't know. you know, not to make a big thing of this, but compare blacklist to ajax, okay? we are both trying to reflect, both attempts to reflect something about our human condition. i think sophocles does a little better job. >> he's already dead. >> i didn't mean that. >> also because i can't really, full disclosure would probably i would never work again. >> please. >> i was just thinking of what we don't do those things. i think there's a visceral theory. they are scary.
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they are scary to do. they are scary and i think people are scared of them. and they are a kick in the head. >> you just stole my word. >> i'm sorry. >> you are taking me off, okay? >> i am in miami, man. last night. >> welcome to miami spent on latin. >> right on, okay. scary. they are scary though, right? but they are. >> help has no -- i think you said you like to hear from us look what we got or what happens. well, we all have our share of morning things to happen to us, and you don't compare tragedies. but we all mourn. we all have our individual moods
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that people can relate to. don't cry, giunta, but not essentially together we are not all jewish so we don't get together in the temple. so a lot of times i find that crying is not enough. i find myself moaning, you know, like walking and moaning, just try to get something at this early, get a? is this energy don't want to come out and tear ducks are not message out in of, you know? i know it's an energy, black storm cloud if i don't get out that laughter is not going to come out. so later. so what i experienced tonight was the screen, you, that screaming through a microphone. i mean, you just went 360 degrees intergalactic screen. you screamed back to the
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millennium. you screamed forward. that is in my debt. i was born under an angry star trek a lot of people are born under an angry store. a lot of as our children are now in the world, the what i'm saying? and that, that, that's a very healing. that's very healing to me. you know how, who said it? all, your teacher said you'll learn when you close the ook. now, with a leader the book is closed. i am going to hear his screams and i'm going to be, it's going to be feeding me and keeping me. you know? someone hurt me and i'm hearing, you know, it's like -- do know what i'm saying? >> i really appreciate last night. >> i was blessed enough to be in the front row in the front seat. i got his spit on me, you know? [laughter] spent you migh may be able to sl that on ebay spent it went in
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the little crack in my little shoulder so i am infected with it so i will have in a good way to i will have it with me my whole life, you know? so i'm healed. hallelujah. >> thank you. thank you so much. [applause] >> a note i give the actors and it's starting to work now that we our way past our time but i tell them before they go on is make them wish they had never. [laughter] but paul, i mean many other actors, takes that line most seriously. we talk about what it's like afterwards. if an actor has pushed himself past what would be appropriate, right, and it's no longer consumable. it's not entertainment. it's actually beyond what you could ever imagine had experienced tonight, didn't come expecting a comment in someone else can happen. but it requires the actor to give us permission to go to the
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places. so that one word to describe it in his permission b by permissin starts on stage and by permission starts on stage and radiates out to the audience. we have three more people but if you keep your comments relatively concise because i don't want to be never invited back to the miami book festival again. >> the tragedy seem to have a unique power to speak and to reach modern audience. do you think of the classic works like the comedies can also be made to address the needs of modern audiences to help invite you been able to do with the tragedies of? >> there was a project two years ago, a global project. it's a plague about women refused to have sex with men until they stop waging war so people did it all over the world, companies didn't all over the world. there have been other instances i think very successful comedies but this large larger question f canton would serve an audience the way tragedy has? i wish i had the temerity to try to answer that


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