Troy Is Burning -

November 07, 2011

U.Va. fourth-year playwright Matthew Minnicino transforms ancient Troy in this daring retelling of a well-known Greek myth


Opens November 30th in the Helms Theatre


CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – November 7, 2011 – The 2011-2012 U.Va. Drama season continues on November 30th in the Helms Theatre with Troy is Burning.


For thousands of years, the legendary tale of Troy has been told and retold again, as poets, writers, historians and the like attempt to find meaning and truth in one of mythology‟s longest and bloodiest conflicts.


U.Va. fourth-year playwright Matthew Minnicino now joins these ranks of storytellers, offering his unique spin in this sharply satiric and thoroughly entertaining play. From the deadliest damsel of them all, Helen of Troy, to the hapless heroes who battle endlessly in her name, Troy is Burning presents a world where gods and generals collude and collide along a journey that challenges us to see love and war in brand new ways.


When Minnicino first considered the idea of creating a script based on the ancient Greek myth, he didn’t imagine that it would be produced during his career as a U.Va. student. “Troy is Burning emerged from years of interest in mythology. I’d drafted a script in high school and began to revisit the idea for Doug Grissom’s Playwriting course here at U.Va. He gave me close personal guidance to hone it, including two staged readings with local actors.”


Also an actor in the play, Minnicino continues to uncover meaning and truth in his work, as he takes part in the process of bringing Troy is Burning from the page to the stage. “The beautiful thing about watching your show [get produced] is seeing the fluid, focused way the text ebbs and flows in the hands of actors and directors. The process is the height of collaboration. If the director comes to me and says “We’ve found in rehearsal this line isn’t working,” I say, ‘Cut it.’ A year ago, if someone had said, ‘This is a bad line,’ I would’ve clung to it like a barnacle. Production has made me realize that there’s a lot more to a play than a script.”


Troy is Burning, directed by J.P. Scheidler and Richard Warner, will be presented in the Helms Theatre November 30-December 3, 2011 at 8pm and December 3-4, 2011 at 2pm.


Ticket prices for Troy is Burning are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and U.Va. faculty, staff and alumni association members and $8 for students. Tickets are available online at, by calling 434-924-3376 or in-person from noon until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at the U.Va. Arts Box Office, located in the lobby of the Culbreth Theatre building. A $3.75 processing fee applies to all online or phone orders.


The 2011-2012 U.Va. Drama Department season continues with Vinegar Tom by British playwright Caryl Churchill and directed by John Vreeke. Vinegar Tom comes to the Helms Theatre February 16-18, 21-25, 2012 at 8pm.


Free parking for all U.Va. Drama performances is available at the Culbreth Road Parking Garage, conveniently located alongside the Drama Building.