AABANY Trial Reenactments Frequently Asked Questions

Why were the AABANY Trial Reenactments started?

The AABANY Trial Reenactments were created to celebrate the contributions made by Asian Americans in the development of American law and society, and to educate audiences — sometimes for the first time — about their legacies. Not only do these Trial Reenactments visit parts of history that are often overlooked, they also serve to raise issues that are still relevant today, such as social justice, racial prejudice, civil rights and human rights. We encourage you to use this website as an open resource for education and learning. We also ask that if you do perform these Trial Reenactments before an audience that you stay in touch with us, as we would be happy to include any photos or details about your performance on this website. For more information, please visit the About page.

What do I need to get started and perform my own rendition of one of the AABANY Trial Reenactments?

You need (1) a script, (2) a group of people, (3) a stage space, and (4) a date for the show. A positive attitude and a desire to educate would be helpful. Acting experience not necessary.

How do I obtain the script for a particular AABANY Trial Reenactment?

Please visit our Contact page and fill out the application. Once your application is approved, someone will contact you with a password to download the script.

How long are the scripts?

Each of the AABANY Trial Reenactment scripts runs about one hour. We also have shortened versions of the Heart Mountain Draft Resisters script and the 22 Lewd Chinese Women script that run about 45 minutes. If you are interested in these shortened scripts, please note that when filling out your Contact form.

How do I set up the stage?

Elaborate staging is not necessary. When AABANY performs the re-enactments it is done as a staged reading, with tables and chairs set up very simply. We use a projector and screen for the PowerPoint slides that accompany each script. By way of example this would be the general set-up for a trial scene: the judge sits in the middle, with a witness stand placed adjacent. The prosecution or plaintiff and the defense set up on opposite sides of the judge and witness stand. The scripts contain stage directions, but they can be modified to fit the space you have to work with.

What props or costumes do I need?

Aside from the set-up, the additional props and costumes are up to you. AABANY has typically used judges’ robes for scenes that include judges. There are certain scripts where props can contribute to the drama of the performance, such as the use of the bat in the Vincent Chin trial.

Do I need to memorize my lines?

Reenactment participants do not need to memorize their lines. Traditionally, cast members perform the lines by reading them on stage, dramatizing their roles to the best of their ability. Each performer typically uses a black binder to hold the script.  Cast members should read with feeling and emotion. These are dramatic, theatrical presentations.

How many people do I need to perform?

You need a group of approximately ten people to perform, with some actors playing multiple characters. However, there are some reenactments, such as Ozawa and Thind, which may require less. We have reproduced the cast lists for each script so you can see who the characters are. You will notice in those lists that some roles are performed by the same person. Also, in some scripts, we have used different people to portray the same role, in different parts of the script.

How much rehearsal is required to put on a trial reenactment?

The AABANY Trial Reenactment Team typically holds two to three rehearsals before performing a trial reenactment. That number decreases if it is a trial reenactment we have done before. Also, where cast members may be spread out geographically, those who cannot make a physical rehearsal can participate by conference call. For scenes involving direct or cross-examination we encourage the performers for those scenes to rehearse with each other, outside of and in addition to the regular group rehearsals, so that they can refine the rhythm and flow of the questioning.

Are there any alternatives to a staged performance of the reenactments?

Yes. We encourage informal readings, such as in the context of a classroom, followed by discussion. Please feel free to contact us for additional materials that can help facilitate discussion.

Can I use the PowerPoint presentations?

Yes. We encourage you to use the PowerPoint presentations as a way to give life to the unfolding drama during your trial reenactment. Please visit our Contact page to request the PowerPoint presentations for each respective AABANY Trial Reenactment. Thank you to David Weinberg of JuryGroup for finding these photographs and creating the presentations.

Do I need to pay any fee to use the scripts or PowerPoints?

No. AABANY is making these scripts and PowerPoints available to the public free of charge as a way to bring these stories of the Asian American experience to a wider audience. If you are interested in obtaining annotated versions of the scripts, with historical and legal background about the first five scripts, you can purchase a copy of the AABANY Law Review. The AABANY Law Review is working on a second special edition for the next four scripts. Stay tuned for updates about that.