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In “9 CIRCLES,” Pvt. Daniel Reeves is arrested and prosecuted after being honorably discharged for a heinous crime he may have committed during the war in Iraq. Thrown into a labyrinth of military bureaucracy, the confused and troubled teenager, like Dante, tries to navigate through layers of commanding officers, public defenders, lawyers, preachers, and army psychiatrists.
In language by turns shocking, mesmerizing and bitingly funny, “9 CIRCLES” speaks directly to a nation still at war, asking penetrating questions about the nature and consequence of all war and what it means to be human.
“‘9 Circles’ is very close to my heart,” said playwright Cain. “It’s the journey of a young man who comes to understand who he is and what he has done, and that he can be empathetic with what he once thought was his enemy. It’s the story of a young man who achieves greatness by doing the one necessary thing—becoming himself.”
“9 CIRCLES” is directed by Steven J. Scally, who last directed for iTC the regional premiere of “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde” by Moises Kaufman. Phillip Herrington, new to iTheatre audiences, portrays the troubled soldier, Daniel Reeves. Stacy Stocker and Bruce Laks round out the cast.
iTheatre Collaborative originally staged “9 CIRCLES” earlier this year at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix. According to reviewer Kerry Lengel of The Arizona Republic, “That the play succeeds in humanizing (Reeves) without excusing his crimes is an extraordinary feat of empathy on the part of author Bill Cain, as well as the Valley actor Phillip Herrington, who leads the audience into the maelstrom.”
“9 CIRCLES,” like many new works, went through a lengthy developmental process. Its initial development and readings were at the Ojai Playwrights Conference in 2008 and South Coast Rep’s Pacific Playwrights Festival in 2009. Its world premiere occurred at Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley, Calif. last year, with subsequent productions in Boston at the Publick and the Bootleg in Los Angeles. The play is published in the anthology “Acts of War: Iraq and Afghanistan in Seven Plays” (Northwestern University Press).
Playwright Cain’s play “Equivocation” received its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2009 and is the recipient of the 2010 Steinberg New Play Award which he again won in 2011 for “9 CIRCLES.” He is the author of the widely produced play “Stand-Up Tragedy,” which earned six L.A. Critics Awards (including Best Production and Distinguished Writing) in its premiere at the Mark Taper Forum. “Stand Up” later won four Helen Hayes Awards (including Outstanding Production) at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, before its 1990 Broadway engagement, where it received the Joe A. Callaway Playwriting Award.
Tickets for the Nov. 15-17 performances of “9 CIRCLES” at ASU’s West campus are $10 general admission, $7 for seniors, and $5 for students, faculty and staff. Advance ticket purchases may be made online at brownpapertickets.com. For more information, call the West campus events line at (602) 543-2787.