There’s been a plethora of plays inspired by the war in Iraq and, unfortunately, most are overwrought with finger-pointing and justifiable anger. Bill Cain’s “9 Circles” is a rare, welcome exception.
Cain’s slick, 90-minute tale of an American soldier on trial for killing Iraqi citizens is a powerful, compelling drama that inspires thoughtful examination of war and compassion for people on both sides of the gun. Credit for this must be given to director Eric Engel.
With only John Malinowski’s sparse set and simple lighting behind them, three actors rely only on their own talent and fortitude to create the nine scenes of this story.
Jimi Stanton delivers a jaw-dropping performance as the soldier who simply follows orders. Stanton’s performance won’t work, however, without the superb work of Will McGarrahan and Amanda Collins playing all the men and women, respectively. McGarrahan splendidly navigates his way through the swagger of a military man and the compassion of a minister with little more than a change of clothes. Collins is equally adept at these transformations, but never better than when playing a public defender who’s in over her head.