Forum Theatre's production of '9 Circles' depicts absurdity of life in a war crimes drama - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Forum Theatre’s production of ‘9 Circles’ depicts absurdity of life in a war crimes drama

Jennifer L. Nelson directs Forum Theatre’s production of “9 Circles” at Round House Theatre Silver Spring, Md. The psychological drama opens today and runs through March 2. (Clinton Brandhagen)

A U.S. soldier who commits brutal crimes in Iraq is at the center of Forum Theatre’s latest production, 9 Circles, which opens today at Round House Theatre Silver Spring, Md. Pvt. Daniel Reeves (Julian Elijah Martinez ) will not – or cannot – explain his motives, and everyone from his attorney to his pastor favors a different explanation.

The psychological drama mirrors Dante’s Inferno, a poem that describes nine circles of human suffering. Director Jennifer L. Nelson said she was intrigued by Bill Cain’s script because the play raises questions about society’s responsibility for the soldiers its sends to war on its behalf.

“What are we asking our young soldiers to do?” Nelson said during a telephone interview. “Are we preparing them adequately for the traumatic situations they encounter? When he does heinous deeds, is it his personal responsibility, or is it societal?”

art forum9 Circles has a four-person cast, with all but Martinez performing multiple roles. One of Nelson’s favorite characters is Reeves’ pastor (Scott McCormick). Most of Reeves’ visitors in prison are concerned with how he will plea, but the pastor tries to persuade Reeves to grapple with his feelings and his actions, she said.

The 95-minute play describes but does not depict violence. 9 Circles has some irony and humor, Nelson said. She noted the playwright, a Jesuit priest, “understands the absurdity of life.” 9 Circles is the first of two Cain plays to appear at Round House this season. The East Coast premiere of How to Write a New Book for the Bible opens April 10 at Round House Bethesda, Md.

Forum Theatre presents “9 Circles” at Round House Theatre Silver Spring, Md., Feb. 7-March 2. Wednesday through Saturday performances start at 8 p.m. Sunday shows begin at 2 p.m. There is a Monday performance Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, with discounts available for senior citizens, groups, Round House subscribers, students and patrons under the age of 30. For more information, call 240-644-1100.





About the author

Megan Kuhn

Megan Kuhn is a financial literacy advocate by day and a theater fan by night. One of her favorite possessions is the red jacket from “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” that she purchased at a costume sale at Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Contact the author.

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