TheatreLAB’s ‘9 Circles’ portrays a gritty tale of an American solider on trial for his life
Inspired by Dante’s Inferno, TheatreLAB’s ”9 Circles” invites you to go down to Hell along with American soldier Daniel E. Reeves and confront your demons starting tomorrow.
“’9 Circles’ is about the demons that live within us all and how we deal with them,” said Joe Toscano, director of the play. “Coming to terms with certain things we’ve done may not be easy, but it is always inevitable. “Here, we get to pay witness to all the major life events circling around this terrible incident and how Daniel copes with his decisions and, now, the consequences.”
The character of Daniel is loosely based on the story of the real American soldier Pvt. Steven Dale Green who was given five life sentences after participating in the Mahmudiyah rape and killings in 2006.
Green claimed that he was so desensitized to war that he no longer saw Iraqis as human beings.
So, that being said this is a very intense premise for a play.
“This is not your traditional piece of theatre,” Toscano said. “It does not take place around a family dinner table or in anyone’s living room. “This play is visceral and can be tough to watch. I believe Richmond will really embrace this piece because it isn’t your everyday theatre piece. I think Richmond will appreciate that.”
Throughout the play, the audience journeys through Daniel’s guilt as he goes on a Dante-esque voyage where he navigates through “a minefield of questions regarding morality, war, and the depravity inside us all.”
Though the play is based on events that happened a decade ago, the director believes the message of the play is still as significant as it is timely.
“I think this piece is important because of the relevance it has maintained –especially now with the media coverage of ISIS and the ongoing trauma in the Middle East,” Toscano said. “ It’s very important because the events discussed in the show are actual events that occurred. The names may have been changed, but the reports read in the show are the actual reports from the Mahmudiyah Killings. It is important to learn from the past so we don’t face the same tragic outcome.”
9 Circles is the first of several plays in Theatre Lab’s “Cellar Series”. The Cellar Series run on a second stage in The Basement and each will have about six to eight performances over two weekends.
“The Cellar Series is the perfect platform for our CompanyArtists to experiment with positions they haven’t held before,” TheatreLAB Associate Artistic Director Jesse McLean said. “This production involves several very experienced artists, but mostly it is being worked on by emerging professionals. Audiences should come eager to support new art created by mostly new artists.”
The next show in the Cellar series will be a script based on the greek tragedy play Medea written by VCU graduate student Brandon Sterrett.
“For every Cellar Season we hope to present a re-imagined classic play, and 9 Circles is inspired by Dante’s Inferno so it seemed an intriguing choice.” McLean said.
9 Circles will have its debut performance on Jan. 14 at The Basement on 300 E Broad. It will run until Jan. 24. General admission is $15 and tickets can be purchased here .
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