As part of this year’s Notre Dame Forum on War and Peace, the University, in partnership with Theater of War Productions, will host a dramatic reading of an ancient Greek tragedy, Aeschylus’ “The Suppliants,” by Emmy Award-winning actors Anthony Edwards and Keith David as well as actor/director Tate Donovan, at 7 p.m. Oct. 3 (Monday) in Notre Dame Stadium. Joining Edwards, David and Donovan as members of the chorus will be students from Ukrainian Catholic University who, in the midst of the war in their country, are studying this year at Notre Dame.
Following the reading, a panel of Notre Dame community members who have experienced violence and war in countries around the world will offer their reactions and experiences, kicking off a town-hall-style global discussion designed to draw out participants’ reactions to the themes of the play; foster empathy, compassion and a deeper understanding of complex issues; and invite consideration of the role we each can play as peace-makers in the world.
Using a 2,500-year-old text as the catalyst for powerful, global dialogue, “The ‘Suppliants’ Project: Ukraine” seeks to amplify and humanize the voices and perspectives of people whose lives have been touched by war, in Ukraine and other countries. Participants will join in the performance and discussion both in person and virtually from locations all over the world.
The Notre Dame event represents the second installment of Theater of War Productions’ “The ‘Suppliants’ Project: Ukraine” that seeks to engage both local and global audiences. The Oct. 3 event is free and open to the public.
“The Suppliants” is an ancient Greek play about a group of refugees who seek asylum in the Greek city of Argos from forced marriage and violence. The play depicts not only the struggle of these refugees to cross a border into safety, but also the internal struggle within the country that ultimately receives them, as its citizens wrestle with how best to address the crisis at their border and whether to go to war on behalf of the refugees seeking their protection.
The Notre Dame Forum, hosted by University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., has been held annually since 2005, with events each year focused on a central theme of particular importance to the University, the nation and the larger world. This year’s forum theme is “War and Peace.”
In a letter to campus, Father Jenkins said: “Globally, conflict and violence are on the rise according to the United Nations, which has warned that peace is more under threat around the world than it has been since World War II. As we contemplate the theme of ‘War and Peace’ this year, we can be guided by Pope Francis’ words from ‘Against War: Building a Culture of Peace’: ‘And together we must commit ourselves to building a world that is more peaceful because it is more just, where peace triumphs, not the folly of war; justice, not the injustice of war; mutual forgiveness, not the hatred that divides and makes us see an enemy in the other, in those who are different from us.’”
Theater of War Productions works with leading film, theater and television actors to present dramatic readings of seminal plays — from classical Greek tragedies to modern and contemporary works — followed by guided town-hall-style discussions.
Edwards most recently appeared as Alan Reed in the Emmy-nominated limited Netflix series “Inventing Anna” and in the Netflix series “WeCrashed.” He is known for his role as Dr. Mark Greene in TV’s “ER” and starred as Lt. Nick “Goose” Bradshaw in the 1986 movie “Top Gun.” He is also an award-winning producer and appeared in many television shows, including multiple episodes of “Northern Exposure,” “Law & Order” and “Designated Survivor.”
David’s work in narration has earned him three Emmys. His recent screen appearances include the summer thriller “Nope” and the leading role as Bishop James Greenleaf in the Oprah Winfrey Network show “Greenleaf.” His acting resume also includes appearances in “Armageddon,” “The Thing,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Platoon” and much more. He was also nominated for a Tony Award for best supporting actor in a musical for his role in “Jelly’s Last Jam.”
Donovan voiced the title character of the Disney animated film “Hercules,” appeared in the 2021 film “Respect” about the life of Aretha Franklin and appeared in TV shows such as “Friends,” “The O.C.,” “MacGyver” and “24: Live Another Day.” As a television director, he directed episodes of “Glee,” “Madam Secretary,” “Hawaii Five-O” and others.
The Notre Dame Forum event is free and open to the public, with stadium entrance via Gate D. Parking will be available in the Stadium and Joyce Center lots. More information about “The ‘Suppliants’ Project: Ukraine” is available at forum.nd.edu.