“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”

 —  William Shakespeare

Oh, the ’60s. Dustin Hoffman allegedly said that if you remember the ’60s, you weren’t really in them. Well, many of my age were in them.

We marched and handed out pamphlets and walked in strike and protest marches. We had our hearts brightened and broken.

We remember, and in light of today’s pandemic and parade of  groveling political golems, who wouldn’t want them back? Writer Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing,” “A Few Good Men”  and Broadway’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”) remembers them, and he’s here with his long awaited drama, “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”

Yes, the ’60s. We had the Vietnam War, JFK  and Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated, and the first man landed on the moon.

And then there was the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago presided over by Mayor Richard J. Daley, and that’s where Aaron Sorkin takes us, right into the middle of it and the resultant famous trial of the historic players.

And here they are looking and acting pretty much the way I remember. Abbie Hoffman (an amazing Sacha Baron Cohen) with an all perfect cast that includes Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mark Rylancethe preternaturally evil Frank Langella as the hard-nosed Judge Julius Hoffman, and my personal favorite, Michael Keaton as Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who, when he takes the stand, upsets the judge’s applecart with a string of softly spoken, carefully measured words. It’s breathtaking, historic and shattering.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is here as the Black Panther’s fierce Bobby Seale, who had no real connection with the seven, and he almost steals the show with his verbal duel with Judge Hoffman.

Mark Rylance, who played the cool artist/Soviet spy with Tom Hanks in “Bridge of Spies,” portrays William Kunstler, the lead attorney for the defense, and his unflappable performance will be up for best supporting actor awards for sure.

And that’s the good news. The Academy has changed the rules because of the pandemic, and streaming films are eligible this year as long as they had a planned theatrical release.

It will be wonderful to see, if possible, the entire ensemble taking the stage together.

They could, if they win Outstanding Performance by a Cast at the SAG Awards.

“Trial of the Chicago 7” is pure historic drama suited for the Broadway stage.

William Shakespeare, visiting from the other side, must be watching and cracking his knuckles in jealousy, for this cast, this story, and these actors are truly Shakespearian in stature.

Thank you, Aaron, and thank you, Netflix, for bringing this crazy, hyper, incredibly timely piece of theater to watch before we all drop our votes in the box.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

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