The Shield - March 05 - March 08, 2020

Virginia Wesleyan University

  Director's Note  

In February, the Classics and Theatre department were honored to facilitate The Warrior Chorus Project. An extraordinary evening of readings from Ancient Greek literature performed by members of the veteran community. Peter Meineck, Professor of Classics at NYU and a veteran of the British Royal Marines, facilitated the readings and led a dialogue between veterans onstage and the audience. The goal - to build empathy and bring a community closer together in support of veterans, families, and all affected by war. As we began developing the Warrior Chorus, it became clear that pairing the work with a theatrical production would give us the opportunity to further explore veteran’s issues. Those that laugh together often find new ways to connect and empathize.


Menander’s comedies inspired is the source material for Terence in Ancient Rome, Shakespeare in Elizabethan England, and sitcoms today. Despite their popularity, we do not have a single text left behind. The beauty of an incomplete text, lost to history, is the opportunity to explore the whole of a playwright’s work, develop an ending that fits within the style of the playwright, and still find a way to reach an audience 2000 years removed from the ancients. The Shield centers on the presumed death of a man in war and the attempt of those at home to uphold his wishes, despite a society that does not recognize or empathize with the soldier.


The Shield is an ironic metaphor. The “shield” Dave wears home and throughout the play is a physical manifestation of trauma experienced in war. Michael’s death and the shield that failed to protect him are an ever-present weight Dave, alone, bears. The line between tragedy and comedy is thin. While our production has a happy ending, the aftermath of war is generational and everlasting in the lives affected by war. As the son, son-in-law, brother-in-law, grandson, and great-grandson of veterans, I would ask all of us - “What are we doing to help those returning home to make their lives and those whose lives are shattered by war?” 



        Travis Malone

        Director and Playwright






This play is dedicated to all those who have served,

both in service to the country and in service to our servicemembers.

May the future bring you happiness, love, and peace.


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