The Trial of John Brown

By Gene Abravaya | Playwright
John brown artwork high res
Genre Drama
Type Play
Subgenre Historical
Time Period 1850-1910
Male Actors 10
Female Actors 3
Undefined Actors 7
Length Full Length
Set Complexity basic


During the early morning hours of October Sixteenth, 1859, John Brown, an ardent abolitionist and a fanatically religious man, led his followers into Harpers Ferry, Virginia, intending to confiscate weapons from the rifle factory and Federal Armory located in the town. Using the stolen weapons, he planned to sweep across the Southern United States and set free every black slave he encountered along the way. However, before he had even completed loading his wagons, he was fired upon by the Harpers Ferry militia, later assisted by a detachment of United States Marines. After a three-day battle, during which all but five of his men were killed, Brown was finally captured. The trial that followed was the first event in American History to be covered extensively by The Press; so extensively that by the time the trial ended, the issue of slavery had captured the attention of the entire nation, perhaps even the entire world. The Trial of John Brown encompasses politics, religion and the struggle for racial equality, dramatically paralleling the issues we face in our lives today. Through the use of flashbacks, it explores pivotal moments during the raid, the trial itself and, even more importantly, the impact John Brown has on the other characters in the play, particularly one young man who must decide between the way of life he has always known and his growing sympathy for Brown’s cause.


James Gliddon

Gender male
Age 30 - 35 years
Vocal Range not applicable
Ethnicity Caucasian
Body Type Any
Personality Compassionate Intelligent

Description A man of purpose whose world is changing right before his eyes.

Special Considerations

  • Character Doubling

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