Sheen Center presents the New York premiere of this history-inspired thriller about a very young US serviceman who is arrested and prosecuted for acts that he may (or may not) have committed during the Iraq War. More…
Thrown into a labyrinth of military bureaucracy, the confused and troubled teenager tries to navigate through layers of commanding officers, public defenders, pastors, lawyers, and army psychiatrists. Based on the 9 Circles of Hell in Dante’s 'Inferno,' this drama barrels unflinchingly forward in its descent into one man’s hell. Not recommended for audiences under age 17.
"'9 Circles' is Jesuit priest Bill Cain's passionate, deeply thoughtful, frequently profane, sometimes funny, but—at an intermissionless 95 minutes—a bit overextended meditation on the horrors of war...All the performances score strongly, but Collins' as the merciless, damaged, multifaceted Reeves is the greatest gift. Playing someone who is generally hostile or argumentative, and burdened with monstrous tendencies, he nevertheless manages to make the man human, if not sympathetic." Full Review
“Collins delivers one of the most complex, arresting characterizations to be seen this season…This is a commanding performance, made all the more effective by the actor's fearlessness...Indeed, without Collins' magnetism, ‘9 Circles’ would suffer greatly…‘9 Circles’ is powerful, but it is also relentless and repetitious. If Kent Nicholson's direction can't quite solve this problem, he does provide a sleekly designed production with a solid supporting cast of three.” Full Review
"What raises this production above the level of civic-obligation theatergoing is Josh Collins’s gorgeously slippery star turn...Yet the Kafkaesque surreality that the play seems to demand is largely missing from this staging. The pacing is a little slack, and the four-person company doesn’t seem as tight as it might be. Even Mr. Collins’s emotionally agile performance can’t make the production viscerally affecting." Full Review
"Collins’ performance is layered and believable...In the very end when he confesses, it seemed forced. The facts of the case did not seem like he committed the crime...In this, Cain’s play fails, or Collins' performance fails to allow us to see the total lack of humanity, or director Nicholson failed in getting Cain’s intent across. Somewhere there is a disconnect because we feel for Reeves and, at one point, we are asked if he is guilty and I do not think my audience would have said yes." Full Review
See it if you can handle intense material and want to see an incredible performance by Josh Collins. Exposes the reality of what war can do to someone
Don't see it if you prefer light material and can't handle intense subject matter. At times, this was a very disturbing piece, but tells an important story.
See it if like riveting performances of a troubled soul. Even terrible actions may have reasons behind them. Josh Collins gives an amazing performance
Don't see it if Don't want to know about the terrible events that happen in war time. If you want light-hearted theater that does not make you think.
See it if You want to see a masterful performance from lead Josh Collins. You like work that explores moral gray areas and tests boundaries.
Don't see it if You have difficulty with themes of violence (including rape), or you like your plot with an easily-distinguished hero or villain.
See it if You're looking for some food for thought about the morality of war, mental health, the death penalty, justice; for some haunting visuals
Don't see it if You only enjoy plays with "high production value, elaborate sets, light-hearted fun
See it if you appreciate adaptations of texts like Dante's Inferno, and you want to explore the mind of a soldier with a personality disorder.
Don't see it if you are sensitive to controversial topics including war crimes and the Iraq War.
See it if you want some insight into what real PTSD looks like. We still don't know completely, but this is a great start.
Don't see it if you are easily offended and turned off by tough subject matter.
See it if you're game for a boldly imagined reinvention of a classical text (in this case, Dante's "Inferno") set during the Iraq War.
Don't see it if you're fanatically pro-military or you become claustrophobic in theaters located in the basement.
See it if you are interested in an anti-war re-imagining of an atrocity committed by an American in the Iraq War.
Don't see it if you are looking for a more nuanced (than this already is) treatment of a war crime and a wider circle of people affected by that crime.
See it if you enjoy network TV procedurals that present big issues through the simplified lens of individual experiences. You like sparse staging.
Don't see it if You like above average acting and you don't have the patience for a show without much to say that still goes on for almost 2 hours.
See it if you're interested in politics, the war in Iraq, Veterans and psychological probing.
Don't see it if you take issue with nudity, language and adult situations. This is definitely not a show for the little ones.
See it if You enjoy modern war stories that involve plotlines similar to "A Few Good Men".
Don't see it if You dislike tough, unrelenting dramas about war, mental illness, and death.
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