I admit that I did not have exceedingly high expectations when I arrived at the opening performance of “The Wizard of Laws” on Saturday night. I didn’t doubt the talent of the many whose efforts went into creating the undertaking. Rather, at this point in 3L, my jadedness about the law school experience has reached such heights that I figured that there wasn’t much in the way of a light-hearted look at HLS that was capable of eliciting more than a polite chuckle. It turned out though that I was wrong.
The wit of the writers combined with the impressive voices and acting abilities of the cast members made the show thoroughly entertaining. It can’t be easy to come up with the script of Parody. Required to be funny, the writers no doubt also feel constrained in their choices so as to avoid drawing the ire of the many student groups, professors, and administrators who are the targets of their jokes (and who all aren’t necessarily an easy going bunch). The Parody writers handled this balancing act adeptly and the result was a script that was clever and satirical without being too cynical or (unnecessarily) offensive. Some of the more unexpected and successful moments in show came when the script skirted right up the boundary of appropriateness, veering away from safer but more well-worn territory that viewers had expected (e.g. Noah Feldman’s well coifed hair, from which the writers extracted every conceivable ounce of humor).
The performances of the cast members served as a reminder of just how talented many of our classmates are, in ways that, outside of Parody, we never get to see. The leads of Kelly Donnelly as Dorothy, Bub Cathcart as Scarebro, Samantha Regenbogen as Tina Tinman, Tim Janas as Lionel, and Rick Corbett as Professor Wicked Witch Noah Feldman all delivered exceptional and memorable performances. The bandmembers also deserve special recognition, as their contribution could have stood alone as a great performance in its own right.
Each of these elements combined to get even this jaded 3L to laugh about the aburdity of the law school experience. I particularly appreciated one of the show’s central lines of satire, which pointed fun at the many letters and acronyms we use to define ourselves through law school (e.g. Hs, BSA, HLAB, etc.). The show’s jokes inspired by this theme succeeded because they pointed at something we all know is true: as much as we may not like to admit it, we tend to be rather concerned with the prestiged accorded by these many labels. Transforming the eternal words of Carly Rae Jepsen, the show delivered the message loud and clear that however you choose to define yourself while in law school, once things are all said in done, all the outside world will do is call you J.D.
The Wizard of Laws play through Wednesday, March 6. Get your tickets while you can.
One Foot Out the Door is a column written by an anonymous Harvard Law 3L.
The views in opinion editorials, columns, and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of The Harvard Law Record.