"Americans in Iraq: Understanding the Consequences"
Wednesday, February 27
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm, Studio 88
Dr. Paul Jackson
Dr. Andrew Gibb
Dr. Elizabeth Reitz Mullenix
Staff Sergeant Stefan Endicott
U.S. Marine Leo Anderson
Miami University English Grad student Nicolyn Woodcock
Miami University Theatre Grad student Sarah Saddler (show director)
Director: Sarah Saddler
Advised by: Paul K. Jackson
Scenic Designer: Weston Oberg
Advised by: Gion DeFrancesco
Costume Designer: Meghan Gallatin
Advised by: Leticia Delgado
Lighting Designer: Christi Mueller
Advised by: Russ Blain
Stage Manger: Erin Mizer
Advised by: Russ Blain
Sound Designer: Keith Arcuragi
Technical Director: Steve Pauna
Assistant Tech Director/
Fight Choreographer: Robert Stimmel
Prop Master: Steve Pauna
Private Daniel Reeves: Brendan Monte
Lieutenant: Ryan Knapper
Young Female Lawyer: Brittani Yawn
Army Attorney: Michael Gorman
Pastor: Joseph Bushur
Lawyer/Defense: Daniel Carr
Shrink: Tamara Ljubibratic
Prosecution: Lizzie Docel
"9 Circles" is a brilliant play: dark, profane, provocative, profoundly funny in spots, and disturbing.” ~Denver Post
“...an experience that is not to be missed or forgotten.” ~ Variety
“Cain is one of the most exciting writers working in theater today. He tackles sprawling concepts with an eye toward their immediate relevance and an ear for speech that is rich and moves the story. “ – Theatre Times
Structured after Dante’s Inferno and based on the true-life story of Private Stephen Dale Green, Bill Cain’s 9 Circles traces the journey of PFC Daniel Reeves through his darkest moments in the hell of Iraq and the subsequent American court system. The play follows Reeves from the moment of his honorable discharge through the ensuing court martial for invading an Iraqi home and raping a 14-year-old girl before slaying her and her parents. As the scenes progress, Reeves encounters Army superiors, lawyers, shrinks and pastors, all of whom have profound influence on how it is he views his crime. At the conclusion of the play Reeves delivers a moving soliloquy from the depths of his fevered mind that troubles all that has come before; black and white morality slips into shades of grey as we witness the impact of war-inflicted trauma upon one man and are left questioning his guilt or innocence. In this exciting psychological thriller, the audience is led to ponder many questions, such as what is cost of war? What is the difference between a monster and a victim? How is it that we as American civilians can re-analyze our responsibility toward understanding war and its effects upon our soldiers?
“The play . . . is a celebration of the ultimate journey of a person. We all have one journey, which is to become ourselves,’’ Cain says. “ ‘9 Circles’ is the story of someone who succeeds at that journey. It’s not an anti-war play, it’s not even a war play. War is the setting, but it’s the story of the birth of a soul. And it ends with a transfiguration.’’ ~ Bill Cain in The Boston Globe
Bill Cain is not your typical, every day playwright. The award-winning author’s last two plays, Equivocation and 9 Circles, garnered the prestigious American Theatre Critics’ Association/Steinberg Award in two consecutive years—an unprecedented feat. And beyond being a playwright, Bill is also a Jesuit priest. In a recent interview for How to Write a New Book for the Bible, he explained how being a priest affects his writing: “I’m a Jesuit priest, and the Jesuits weren’t founded to live in a cloister or a monastery. We’re supposed to go into the world and find the presence of God there and celebrate it. I’d say that’s a pretty good description of what all of us do in theatre do as well. Theatre is always proclaiming ‘attention must be paid’ to what is neglected and holy. Willy Loman. Antigone. Blanche. In this play—Mary. The jobs of writer and priest—as ‘Bill’ says in the play—are closely related. In both, you point and say, ‘Look. Look there. That person you haven’t noticed—he, she matters.”
Bio from South Coast Repertory, Photo by Jenny Graham
New York Times, July 14, 2006
“On the last day of January 2005, Steven D. Green, the former Army private accused of raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murdering her family, sat in a Texas jail on alcohol-possession charges, an unemployed 19-year-old high school dropout who had just racked up his third misdemeanor conviction.
Days later, Mr. Green enlisted in a soldier-strapped Army, and was later assigned to a star-crossed unit to serve on an especially murderous patch of earth.
He arrived at the very moment that the Army was increasing by nearly half the rate at which it granted what it calls “moral waivers” to potential recruits. The change opened the ranks to more people like Mr. Green, those with minor criminal records and weak educational backgrounds. In Mr. Green’s case, his problems were emerging by junior high school, say people who knew him then.
Mr. Green’s Army waiver allowed a troubled young man into the heart of a war that bore little resemblance to its original declared purposes, but which continued to need thousands of fresh recruits.
Now, there is shame and rage in the Army — from the ranks of the enlisted to the officer corps — over the crimes attributed to Mr. Green, who was discharged in April on psychiatric grounds, and four other soldiers charged with a rape and four killings in March in Mahmudiya, a town about 20 miles south of Baghdad. A sixth soldier was charged with failing to report the matter after learning about it.”
What is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD?
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people get after seeing or living through a dangerous event. When in danger, it’s natural to feel afraid. This fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to prepare to defend against the danger or to avoid it. This “ight-or-light” response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm. But in PTSD, this reaction is changed or damaged. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger.
Who gets PTSD?
Anyone can get PTSD at any age. This includes war veterans and survivors of physical and sexual assault, abuse, accidents, disasters, and many other serious events.
Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some people get PTSD after a friend or family member experiences danger or is harmed. The sudden, unexpected death of a loved one can also cause PTSD.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:
1. Re-experiencing symptoms:
– Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
– Bad dreams
– Frightening thoughts
Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. They can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.
2. Avoidance symptoms:
– Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
– Feeling emotionally numb
– Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
– Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.
Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.
3. Hyperarousal symptoms:
– Being easily startled
– Feeling tense or “on edge”
– Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts
Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic event. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
It’s natural to have some of these symptoms after a dangerous event. Sometimes people have very serious symptoms that go away after a few weeks. This is called acute stress disorder, or ASD. When the symptoms last more than a few weeks and become an ongoing problem, they might be PTSD. Some people with PTSD don’t show any symptoms for weeks or months.