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The Trial of the Catonsville Nine

From 82 member  reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing, Relevant, Intelligent

About the show

Transport Group Artistic Director Jack Cummings III has radically re-imagined this provocative piece of theater created from the actual court transcripts of the Catonsville Nine trial. More…

It is 1968 and the war is raging in Vietnam. A draft card is viewed by many as a death certificate. In the midst of a divided country, with corrosive mistrust in government and authority, nine would-be bystanders in Catonsville, Maryland decide that complacency is complicity — it is time for action. Their single act of conscience to halt the draft awakens a national resistance.    

This production is produced in partnership with the National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO). 

Member Reviews (82)

MEMBERS SAY:

Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing, Relevant, Intelligent
81
Avg Score

90
Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great staging, Compelling

See it if You are a jury in 1968 hearing the impassioned words of war objectors. Powerful issues made personal. Excellent staging w/great ending.

Don't see it if You wouldn't enjoy an artistic nonfiction re-enactment. You are not interested in Vietnam War issues, even though relevant to today.

62
Ambitious, Disappointing, Indulgent, Slow, Great staging

See it if You enjoy plays based on history. You want a portrait of the Vietnam War protests. You like immersive staging. You enjoy political dramas.

Don't see it if You want characters that are more realistic & less archetype. You want a political play that shows both sides of an issue.

Also While I appreciate the company presenting this story, the writing is o... Read more Read less

88
Great staging, Intelligent, Slow, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if story of 9 Vietnam protesters interests you. Script is from actual trial transcripts. 3 actors portray many characters.

Don't see it if you want a "routine" play with a full cast and linear storytelling. You don't like in-the-round productions.

Also This is one of the most creative and well-fitting stagings I've experi... Read more Read less

83
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You remember the years when the Vietnam war draft was front & center for all young men. Passions ran high. Reliving those times was hard.

Don't see it if You don't care to remember which side of the anti-war movement you were supporting. Still not clear if protests changed anything.

85
Ambitious, Great acting, Relevant, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy verbatim or political theatre. Great cast, great direction, great set design, great lighting & sound design.

Don't see it if you are expecting a traditional prod.

92
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you want an extraordinary night of amazingly still relevant theater

Don't see it if you’re looking for s musical

79
Relevant, Intense, Intelligent, Confusing, Immersive

See it if You are interested in human rights and historic documentation, excellent acting, sound, lighting, staging, presented in an immersive setting

Don't see it if The script was rather confusing, you get the gist but the story is not clear, you have to do your research before coming to see the play.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Intelligent

See it if You want to learn a bit about US History while being entertained

Don't see it if US History bores you

80
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You are interested in the trial or just want to learn a piece of history.

Don't see it if If you are looking for standard theater.

90
Absorbing, Great staging, Intense, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if You are or aren't familiar with this true-life tale of political heroism, and if you are a fan of environmental, site-specific theatre.

Don't see it if You like conventional settings for a story to take place in.

Also I went into this production knowing nothing about the story. I am so h... Read more Read less

81
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if You like theater that is off the beaten path. Strong performances. Appreciate a story that is not purely linear.

Don't see it if You want to relax and be entertained. This is an exciting piece of theater, well staged. But it’s intense.

82
Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to learn about true events surrounding the Vietnam war

Don't see it if You want to be entertained through music or dance

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent, Refreshing

See it if you like an intimate experience and a wonderful ambiance alongside great acting

Don't see it if you dislike trial plays or want something with extravagance

95
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Ambitious, Intelligent

See it if You're interested in the history of our land and society.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy a history lesson, regardless of the top quality of its delivery.

79
Great acting, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if You are interested in political, historical plays that take a risk with unusual staging. --this focuses on the Vietnam War period.

Don't see it if You don't like a lot of talking with not much plot. Also-- be warned there's a lot of smoke

83
Absorbing, Ambitious, Resonant

See it if you like politically charged, docu-style theatre.

Don't see it if you prefer more of a traditional play or especially if you only dig the fluffy musicals.

Also While there really isn't much of an argument that an audience faces, i... Read more Read less

75
Intelligent, Relevant, Profound

See it if you like history plays

Don't see it if a little one-note

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious, Clever, Intense

See it if You like history and retelling of an event from one perspective, limited set design.

Don't see it if You don’t like history from one perspective and limited set design.

84
Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if If you like history plays that comment on current events by analogy. If you lived through the culture wars and protests of the 1960s.

Don't see it if If you want a big production rather than an intimate experience. If you're sensitive to potential overacting or cults of personality.

100
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You love a compelling docudrama about a nearly forgotten anti-war protest that is both inspiring and chilling in its relevancy to now.

Don't see it if You supported the Vietnam War.

During previews
90
Absorbing, Relevant, Riveting, Great staging, Thought-provoking

See it if You like cleverly staged political dramas with a very timely feel. Interesting sort of round robin casting with 3 actors playing all roles.

Don't see it if You want a lot of action. This is almost entirely monologues.

Also This sort of took its time getting there but was well worth it. Also, ... Read more Read less

During previews
63
Great acting, Great staging, Indulgent, Insipid, Fluffy

See it if If you want good acting and staging. This show had good lighting as well.

Don't see it if If you want a story that starts with Vietnam, goes to Guatemala, then Africa, and onto other countries. Writer tries to be resonant ,

Also But is down right subversive.

During previews
95
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if Theater In the round done expertly. Great acting by David Huynh and Eunice Wong. Approx. 70 seats make one a part of the show. see also

Don't see it if One has to adjust to the 3 actors playing all of the roles, the 9 accused and the lawyers and judges.Only 90 minutes. See also

Also Daniel Berrigan lives again, Fascinating play. Take a tour of Abron Ar... Read more Read less

During previews
78
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow, Relevant, Resonant

See it if Cummings' immersive rethink of Berrigan's docu-drama works more often than not due to terrific cast of Asian actors - nice directorial touch

Don't see it if Cast of three play all parts - 9 or 10? & leads to some confusion/loss of focus Pace can slow due to dry material but passion remains high

During previews
88
Distanced, Well played, Powerfully staged, Archaeological, Exploratory

See it if examination of recent but fading history for what it might tell us today seems to you a worthy endeavor.

Don't see it if you want a traditional play, or history bores you.

Also Jack Cummings’ bracing reimagining of “The Trial of the Catonsville Ni... Read more Read less


February 6th, 2019
“Presented with the NAATCO and performed by three actors of Asian descent, Cummings’s adaptation is ‘Catonsville’ pared down and reassembled...The moral weight of the activists’ defense proves more important than our need to know always which character is speaking, though Cummings’s willingness t...
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February 7th, 2019
"This remarkable moment in political and theatrical history now comes roaring back to life with the fervor its subjects deserve...Performed by three Asian-American actors who rise beautifully to the challenge of playing numerous different characters...'The Trial' is activist theater in the best s...
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February 6th, 2019
"It's a testament to both Cummings's steady directorial hand and the uniformly strong performances of the cast that it is always crystal-clear who is speaking, and about what...In design and staging, Cummings uses the old Neighborhood Playhouse stage in unexpected and exciting ways...With searing...
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February 7th, 2019
"Reimagined in ways that are sometimes theatrically arresting but, more often, are at cross purposes with the text...In its best moments, 'The Trial of the Catonsville Nine' shines a light on the moment when the American consensus began to come apart...There's also a tendency to underline every m...
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