BY PAMELA FOOHEY
This year’s law school parody, “Harry ‘Issue’ Spotter and the Goblet of Breyer,” was a spectacular concoction of singing, dancing, and, of course, jabs at professors, law firms, a certain very conservative Supreme Court justice, and Harvard Law School in general. Produced by Andrew Ain ’08 and Kees Vandenberg ’09, and directed by Stephanie Christiansen-LaRocco ’08, “Harry ‘Issue’ Spotter” followed our hero, Harry Spotter (Ken Basin ’08), and his two closest friends, Hermione Gunner (Tina Rad ’08) and Ron Southie (Brian Korchin ’08) as they begin their 1L year at HLS. “Harry ‘Issue’ Spotter” delivered two and a half hours of songs and laughs to packed houses Tuesday through Saturday night last week.
Upon arrival, Spotter and his cohorts are astonished to find that their professors seem to have lost the Socratic method. Rather than engaging them in the expected 1L Socratic torture, Professor Hay just seems really confused, Professor Brewer engages only himself, and Professor Dershowitz fixates on his personal connections. Strangely, Professor Warren appears unaffected, hurling baffling questions at students left and right. And thus begins their journey in search of the method.
More than in previous years, this year’s parody generally tracked a definable plot, while still incorporating all that merits parody-professors, the Supreme Court, celebrities prominent in the legal world, OCI, bar review, the Ames competition, the endless construction, and the dungeon that is Gannett House.
To the Record’s delight, our very own editor-in-chief Andrea Saenz was featured as Andrea News-Saenz, and occasionally was used to move the plot along through her incessant questioning. In the end, Andrea News-Saenz gets tortured the death by the Socratic method, which we conclude (based on our inside information) was just another way Saenz and the Record were sacrificed as a plot device, and has nothing to do with Saenz’s classroom performance during Socratic questioning.
After realizing the method must have been stolen, Spotter, Gunner, and Southie are visited by the ghost of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who tells them that the Socratic method has been snatched by He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. As they search for the identity of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named-later revealed to be Mitt Romney-they encounter the three Kennedys, Justice Scalia, and Mr. and Mrs. Elizabeth Warren (Professors Mann and Warren). They also visit the Program on Negotiation, receiving valuable advice from Professor Mnookin, and the basement of Griswold, which has been transformed into a jail, as they navigate their way through the tunnels. Of course, Dean Kagan, Dean Cosgrove, and Toby Stock were featured, as well as Professors Murray, Kaufman, and Levinson.
Musical highlights included the “1L Tango” (featuring Crim, Contracts, CivPro, Torts, Property, and LegReg), “Biller,” and “Pour Some Souter.” Justice Scalia’s parts received much laughter and cheering, especially as he took on (and was defeated by) the Gladiatort, and when he responded to Spotter’s “rights based argument” with “is that some kind of joke?” The three Kennedys also were well-received and had some great lines, including “there is no right, only wrong and left,” and “we know things no one else knows because we made them up and published them” (in response to Spotter asking about his dead parents). In the end, with help from Professors Warren and Mann, who explain the power of the pass; Professor Mnookin, who explains how to answer a question with a seemingly related, yet really unrelated and sidetracking question; and the Harvard Law Review’s super-secret outline bank, Spotter and his cohort are able to the defeat Romney (aided by Anne Coulter) and restore the Socratic method.
Parody concluded with a farewell address by J.K. Rowling and a flash-forward to a reunion nineteen years in the future. Overall, HLS Parody 2008 was a huge success. There were 42 dedicated cast members, plus crews for lights, sound, stage and set, makeup, props, and the band (all HLS students, of course). Indeed, one cast member was hit by a snowplow during dress rehearsals and performed with a cane. That’s right; the HLS Parody is tougher than a snow plow.
The HLS Drama Society plans to sell a songbook with all of the lyrics from this year’s show, and possibly a DVD.
Rating: * * * *