The Actors Gang’s new play "The Trial of the Catonsville Nine"

I just got back from the play based on the film-play–real life event “The Trial of the Catonsville Nine”. It was fantastic. This is definately going down in my books as my favorite play I have seen at the Actor’s Gang. But then again, the gang never lets me down.  From Racism to Scrooge to just about anything, they always present their work with honesty, love, and quality.

This story is not like anything you have seen, a true story about a group of 9, “Christian rebels” (who would have thought I would have ever used the words Christian rebel in the same sentence?), anyways these rebels stood up against the Vietnam War. They stood up and felt so strongly that they went and stole ‘future draft personnel files’ from the local draft board office. They saved lives without any regard for their own future. They burned these paper files with ‘Napalm’ as a symbol of what was really being burned with Napalm in Vietnam-people.

A few of them had also previously gathered draft cards and doused them in their own blood in the middle of a tough Baltimore ghetto, saving many poor young black men from going to war. This is a key story note as well, and yet another equally powerful statement that enhances the play significantly.

The true story is here:

Here too:

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The cast of usual suspects are all on top of their game here.  Andrew E. Wheeler was stellar as a Jesuit priest who stood up to “the man.”  David Darst played by Cameron Dye was amazing in his honesty and sincerity in being yet another one of those ‘radicals’ who stood up and actually did something.

The pillars of the gang that seemed to be like the glue for the remainder of the cast would have to be “Thomas Lewis” played by a sturdy and litigious Chris Schultz, not to mention the other glue of the group-the awesomely stern with a touch of humanity “Judge” played by Adel Robbins,(Tim Robbins’s sister).

This story is not just a play but a statement for those turbulent times during Vietnam which could, of course, be equally transfixed into this 2009, Post-Bush, “Why are we in Iraq?” War world in chaos right now.  It’s a chaos that isn’t going away anytime soon, but at least we have a new, more compassionate president to deal with it and that’s all any of us could ask for.

I recommend this play to everyone, and it would even hold the attention of those who don’t normally go to the theater. It is what I consider “an easy read.”