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9 Circles: A Veteran’s Story

Updated: Jul 26, 2019

Steven Olson, the director of the April production of the Majestic Readers’ Theatre Company knows about war and its effects on soldiers.

Soon after graduating from Hidden Valley High School in 2010 he volunteered to join the 82nd Airborne Division and served two deployments in Afghanistan as an infantryman. Now a Junior at OSU, majoring in Speech Communications with a theater minor, he also holds the position of Student Coordinator of Veteran Affairs. His job there is assisting veterans transitioning from the military to college.

The play Olson is directing is 9 Circles written by Bill Cain. The play’s title is a reference to Dante’s Divine Comedy that postulates nine circles, or levels, of hell. In the play, a US soldier is taken through each level from recruiting office to court-martial.

“The biggest problem veterans face today isn’t the disdain of Vietnam and that period, it’s the indifference of the average American,” Olson says.

Last week three American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan and he believes most Americans hardly noticed. When veterans return to school they are not given very long to change over from life and death vigilance to fitting in with the concerns of young college students. “My position serves as a kind of voice for veterans’ issues, comments and concerns.”

The play Olson chose to direct is a military drama based on a true event that happened in Iraq in 2006. Although the play has some tension-breaking funny dialog, this show is no comedy and is for mature audiences only. The important message that comes through is the men and women who serve our country need our empathy to help heal the mental wounds of war.

Performances are Saturday, April 27th at 7 PM and two Sunday performances April 28th at 3 PM and 7 PM in the Community Room of the Majestic Theatre. Buy tickets here.


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