Lawyers on Stage
Since 2016, Global Works’ “Lawyers on Stage” Project has enlisted members of the local courtroom bar and bench to stage plays about the law. The plays chosen to be staged all illustrate the way the law, as it unfolds in a case being tried, whether to a jury, to a single judge, or to a panel of judges, is shaped by passion, and prejudice, and politics, whether of the present-day or an historical moment. As you will see tonight, these are not mere readings, with cast members standing in front of music stands, their scripts before them.
They are fully realized productions, with movement and music and lighting—in short, all the elements of full theater. The cast performs “book in hand,” lifting their lines off the page, but in every other way the goal is to provide you, the audience, with an evening of complete theater, presented by a cast of lawyers (practicing attorneys and judges) who are donating their time because they believe the subject matter to be worthy of your attention—and also, to be sure, for the sheer fun of doing so! Indeed, for many of our cast members this is their second, third or even fourth Lawyers on Stage Project production!
In 2016, the Project premiered “The Test Case,” an original work by Seattle lawyer James Lobsenz that explored issues of gender in a literally heavenly courtroom, pitting Thurgood Marshall against Socrates in a challenge to the “Heavenly Entrance Aptitude Test” that probes the meaning of faith itself. In 2017, the Project staged “Inherit the Wind,” a production that saw the audience swept up as members of the community of Hillsboro, participants in a courtroom battle over freedom of thought between Clarence Darrow (Henry Drummond) and William Jennings Bryan (Matthew Harrison Brady)—a battle that continues to be fought in the classrooms of our country today. In 2018, the Project staged “Judgment at Nuremberg,” an examination of how lawyers and judges in Nazi Germany chose “love of country” over justice, and in doing so paved the way for—and in some cases, participated in—crimes against humanity that took millions of lives: crimes that echo ever more loudly today, as “very fine people” again march under Nazi banners. In 2019 the project staged “12 Angry Jurors,” which took the audience inside the deliberations of an American jury, to show how justice for an individual accused can be shaped by forces having little to do with Eighth Grade Civics notions of criminal justice.