This section includes biographies of our actor/veterans, character studies, and costume designs.

A note from our costume designer, Maggie Clapis

At first glance, a uniform can tell us so much about a person: their profession, where they are from, and in some cases, what they have been through. By using distressing techniques in the costumes, I sought to create a visual representation of Ajax's trauma. Odysseus wears the same uniform as Ajax, yet their looks are distinctly different, and it is clear that although they are connected, there is a divide between them. The details in each character’s uniform express their individuality. For some, like Agamemnon and Menelaus, their insignia and medals are on full display. For others, like Tecmessa, only particular elements from a uniform, such as her combat boots, are incorporated into her costume, so that her look represents an assimilation to her surroundings while maintaining ties to where she is from. When costuming with military uniforms, it is the small distinctions in the way each character wears their uniform that tells a deeper story.

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Ajax

A tremendous soldier of unbridled strength. In Homer’s Iliad, Ajax is described as the strongest of all the warriors in the Greek army. He was trained by legendary centaur Chiron, who also taught Ajax’s father and Heracles (Hercules). Ajax assumed he would be presented with his cousin Achilles’ armor after the hero’s death, but Odysseus managed to snag the awesome honor through wits and persuasion.

Costume design concept for Ajax

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Ajax is played by James Bane

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JAMES BANE; former Tennessean, United States Marine and Iraqi War veteran. MFA in Theatre from the University of Southern California (my parents didn’t pay to get me in). Company member of The Actors’ Gang. Host of the All Warrior Network’s show “Weekly SitRep”. Stage credits: Tracers, Ajax in Iraq, Back Bog Beast Bait and Accidental Death of an Anarchist. TV & Film credits: HBO's The Brink, Y&R, NCISLA, Lethal Weapon, The Break Up, Khali the Killer and Texas Zombie Wars.

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Chorus

Soldiers under the command of Ajax. In the beginning of the play the Chorus is deeply concerned for their commander and confused by his behavior. As in other Greek tragedies, the Chorus punctuates moments of action with discussion about the events and how they are shaping the world of the characters.

Costume design concept for Chorus

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Chorus played by Tucker Smallwood

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TUCKER SMALLWOOD was commissioned an Army Infantry Officer in June '68. He later attended Jump School, MATA at Ft Bragg and Vietnamese Language at Ft. Bliss, Texas. He commanded MAT-36 (a five-man Advisory Team to Vietnamese militia) in 1969. After recovering from his injuries at Walter Reed, he taught combat patrolling at Ft. Belvoir, then resigned his commission and moved to NYC to study acting.

Over the past 50 years, Tucker has performed on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in regional theaters across America in more than 45 productions. He appears in hundreds of hours of network dramas and comedies, in dozens of feature films, in over 100 commercials and over 1000 V/O. His film and TV credits are available on IMDb.

Tucker wrote and narrates RETURN TO EDEN; essays describing the arc of an artist with PTSD. He is a recorded blues guitarist/singer (Youtube). In 2012, Tucker performed in THE SUNSET LIMITED by Cormac McCarthy for Rogue Machine Theatre and again in 2014 for Rubicon Theatre. He received an Ovation Nomination for Best Actor and won the Independent Theater Award.

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Tecmessa

The war-bride of Ajax who was previously the princess of Phrygia. After the Greeks ravaged Tecmessa’s land, Ajax was captivated by her beauty and took her as a concubine. Together they had a son, Eurysaces, but Tecmessa fears her husband’s death will spell doom for them all.

Costume design concept for Tecmessa

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Tecmessa played by Anja Akstin

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Anja Akstin is an actress/ writer/ singer from Juneau, Alaska. She enlisted in the USMC out of high school and was stationed at Quantico, VA. After getting out of the Marine Corps, she knew she wanted to pursue acting as a career, and has since invested herself wholly into studying the craft and business of acting. Television appearances include The Walking Dead and Rectify, and she has been in numerous plays, including My Children! My Africa!, Titus Andronicus, and Eleemosynary. She is currently involved in the WGF's Veteran's Mentorship Screenwriting Program and is a member of UCLA's Wordcommandos. Recently, she earned her place as an alumni with USC's Warrior Bards program.

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Chorus

Soldiers under the command of Ajax. In the beginning of the play the Chorus is deeply concerned for their commander and confused by his behavior. As in other Greek tragedies, the Chorus punctuates moments of action with discussion about the events and how they are shaping the world of the characters.

Costume design concept for Chorus

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Chorus played by Terre Fallon

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LTC Terre Fallon Lindseth, USAR, Ret. served for 27 years. She enlisted in 1978, at the age of 17, in the Army National Guard. She was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1981 and served in the 40th Infantry Division (M) for 14 years. In 1992, as a Company Commander, she deployed with her unit to the L.A. Riots. In 1996, she transferred to the Army Reserves, joining the 425th Civil Affairs Battalion and was deployed on multiple, short missions as a team chief to South Korea, Thailand, and Germany. In 2000, she deployed to Bosnia where she served as Deputy Director of Civil Military Operations in the Tuzla area. She was medically retired in 2006 due to injuries sustained while in Bosnia. She also worked as a middle school teacher in Los Angeles for 17 years, teaching Language Arts and Industrial Technology. Due to complications associated with hearing loss sustained while in the military, she was forced to retire in 2013. Terre is happily married to Odd Arne Lindseth who is a retired Lieutenant from the Royal Norwegian Airforce. They reside in Los Angeles but spend the summer months in Norway at their summer farmhouse on the fjord where they spend time with the kids and grandkids. As a hobby, Terre is a photographer. You can see her photos at TerreFallonPhotography.com. She also writes with “The LiT Squad”, a veteran’s writers’ group, and participates in readings in the Los Angeles area with the rest of the squad.

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The Messenger

The Messenger played by Diana Shield

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Born and raised in Chicago, Diana Shield was always driven to succeed, no matter the circumstances. Immediately after graduating High School, she enlisted into the United States Marine Corps. Her active duty service would take her from the streets of Chi-Town to the swampy marshes of Parris Island, S.C. and then the far east world of Iwakuni, Japan. She would have a brief stop in Miramar, CA before landing in Camp Lejeune, N.C. where she would finish out her active duty. After moving back to Chicago, Diana began to pursue her passion for acting and enrolled in classes at the local college. But life had other plans for her and those plans involved motherhood. Diana then moved to Washington D.C. with her husband and daughter. While living there, she would travel to New York City for acting school and auditions. In order to provide and support for her family, she took a job in Quantico, VA working alongside Marines as a civilian staff member. Unfortunately, her on-going medical condition impaired her ability to maintain employment, thus forcing her to retire from the position. But life once again had other plans for her, and this time the opportunity to move out west was within her reach. She set out west with her family. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, CA, right away she landed roles in two feature films (The Miller Prediction, By Day’s End). Diana’s theater side would be resurrected, being cast in the original musical Eastside Heartbeats at CASA 0101 theater in Boyle Heights. There she was lauded with high reviews from The Topanga Messenger, saying Diana “shines with her acting skills” and has “a voice that won’t quit”. She has appeared in other theater production original pieces such as: Ring of Red, A Barrio Story (Bootleg Theater), Red Sand (Santa Monica Playhouse), and Anarchy Chiapas (Highways Performance Space). Most recently, she wrote and performed her own original pieces for Warrior Bards: Veterans Exploring Ancient Drama at the University of Southern California and Everyday Heroes at the Geffen Playhouse. She currently teaches Yoga in Burbank, more specifically, Hot Yoga. She wants to inspire others and teach them health is a goal that can be attained without medications.

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Odysseus

The famous tactician and brains behind the Greek army. Odysseus is best known for his decade-long trip back home after the events of the Trojan War as told in The Odyssey, but he plays an integral part in The Iliad and other myths. At the start of Ajax, Odysseus has become hated by Ajax due to his role in securing Achilles’ armor.

Costume design concept for Odysseus

Odysseus played by Nicholas Cormier III
 

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Odysseus is played by Nicholas Cormier III

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Nicholas Cormier III is a Veteran of the United States Air Force where he proudly served as an Air Traffic Controller. He is a Writer, Actor, and Director. Nicholas graduated Collin College with an Associates in Theatre and from the University of Texas at Arlington where he studied Art with a concentration in Film and a minor in Theatre. He also graduated from Texas State University with a Masters in Business Administration. He owns Runner Films, a film and video production company, and enjoys serving the community through Outreach and participates in Mindful Warrior Project events along with volunteering for Veteran-Centric service organizations. Nicholas has a passion for advocating for the homeless, those with mental illness, and substance abuse issues in Los Angeles, California. He is a USC Warrior Bard and a member of UCLA Wordcommandos Veteran writing workshop.

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Agamemnon

The elder brother of Menelaus and the leader of the Greek army. A tragic figure, Agamemnon began the Trojan War by sacrificing his daughter so the Greek ships could sail to Troy. Despite wanting to be a strong and confident leader, Agamemnon would continually face hardship and setback, and his arrogance and stubbornness make him unsympathetic to Ajax’s fate in the play.

Costume design concept for Agamemnon

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Agamememnon is played by Tony Nevada

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Tony Nevada is an American television and film actor. He began his career after serving honorably in the United States Marine Corps. Mr. Nevada was accepted as a Lifetime Member of the Actors Studio by Academy Award winning actor Martin Landau. He went on to work with Clint Eastwood in Warner Bro’s Best Picture nominated American Sniper opposite Bradley Cooper. His next studio film was opposite Miles Teller in Universal and Dreamworks Thank You For Your Service. Television credits include playing Gene Scarborough on the top-rated sudser Young and the Restless and as Riggs opposite Katherine Heigl in State of Affairs. Tony Nevada is attached to several upcoming films including a remake of the blockbuster cult classic Billy Jack.

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Teucer

A great archer and the half-brother to Ajax. Known for his skills with a bow, Teucer would also go on to found the city of Salamis on the island of Cyprus. Fiercely loyal to his brother and Greek compatriots, Teucer fought against the Trojans despite being nephew to the king of Troy.

Costume design concept for Teucer

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Teucer is played by Brian Majestic

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Brian Majestic is an U.S. Marine Corps veteran that served two deployments in Iraq as a field radio operator. Prior to his enlistment he studied acting in New York City at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and then with Terry Schreiber. After relocating to Los Angeles post service he has appeared on stage at the Geffen Playhouse, Odyssey Theatre, and Road Theatre Company. He has also appeared on TV in Lucifer, Insecure, Criminal Minds, and General Hospital.

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Menelaus

Husband of Helen and the younger brother of Agamemnon. After Helen was carried off to Troy by Paris, Menelaus gathered a group of Greek leaders to sail to the city and take back his wife, thus starting the Trojan War. Furious at Ajax for the warrior’s erratic behavior, during the events of the play he is content to see Ajax’s body lie unburied.

Costume design concept for Menelaus

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Menelaus played by George Cantero

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George Cantero served in the U. S. Army from 1970-1974 in Vietnam as a combat medic. He is an actor and director and has appeared in Apocalypse Now, More American Graffiti, and The Cotton Club.