War Crimes, Hell and Redemption

Most of us will eventually face some crisis of conscience. We can hope, however, not to be Daniel Reeves, protagonist of the new drama, 9 Circles, which recently premiered at the Black Box Theatre at the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture in NYC. In playwright Bill Cain’s new thriller, a teenaged Reeves is arrested and prosecuted for acts that he may have committed while serving in the U.S. Army during the Iraq War. Thrown into a labyrinth of military bureaucracy, the confused and troubled man-child tries to navigate layers of commanding officers, public defenders, pastors, lawyers and army psychiatrists.

Inspired by actual events, the play is based on the 9 Circles of Hell in Dante’s Inferno — in this case tracing one man’s descent into personal hellfire. In this premiere episode of the new podcast series, Light from the Black Box, Valerie Smaldone speaks with playwright Bill Cain and Director Kent Nicholson about a play Backstage described it as “an electrifying psychological drama with riveting, tour-de-force performances… With its myriad intellectual riches, this important work packs a powerful emotional punch, examining timeless social issues with insight and compassion.”


“9 Circles is very close to my heart,” says 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.”

– CS Team

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