Carthage stages new version of 'Ajax' focused on veterans' mental health

Carthage stages new version of 'Ajax' focused on veterans' mental health


KENOSHA, Wis. – The Carthage College Theatre Department will present a fresh take on ancient Greek tragedy “Ajax” in October, using a new translation that draws connections to military themes such as camaraderie, post-traumatic stress disorder, and veteran suicide.

Performances are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5-6 and Oct. 11-13, as well as 3 p.m. Oct. 7. All shows are held in the Wartburg Theatre, located inside the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Natural and Social Sciences at Carthage, 2001 Alford Park Drive.

“Ajax,” written by Sophocles in the 5th century BCE, has received a new translation by Carthage senior Lawrence Gums, a combat veteran, and 2018 graduate Melody Abbott. They adapted the script through the college’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience.

Directed by Professor Martin McClendon, the play follows the tragic fall of the titular character, Ajax, and the aftermath of his actions. Dishonored in a competition for Achilles’ armor and cursed by Athena, he takes vengeance against herds of sheep and their shepherds, believing them to be the offending Greeks and their commanders.

Coming to his senses, Ajax is humiliated by his actions and teeters on the verge of suicide. Will he take his own life, or can his wife, Tekmessa, and his own soldiers convince him to live?

Combining their education and experience, the translators took a centuries-old tale and thrust it into the 21st century. This modern “Ajax” tells the story of combat veterans and mental illness, gripping audiences with voices that resonate from the past.

Tickets can be purchased online at or at the box office. Prices are $14 for adults, $10 for seniors (55 and over), and $8 for students with a valid ID.

For questions, contact the Carthage Fine Arts box office at or 262-551-6661.

About Carthage College –
Carthage combines an environment of reflection and self-discovery with a culture of high expectation so our students uncover and ignite their true potential. A four-year, private liberal arts college with roots in the Lutheran tradition, Carthage has a prime location in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The campus, an 80-acre arboretum on the shore of Lake Michigan, is home to 150 scholars, 2,600 full-time students, and 400 part-time students.

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