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Future lawyers take the stage in annual lampoon

It’s not far-fetched that lawyers, known for their theatrics in court, would take naturally to the stage. But between property torts and the bar exam, law students never seem to have much time for jokes.

That wasn’t the case Thursday evening at UM’s Storer Auditorium.

The law school’s students, faculty, and staff gathered to laugh at themselves, parodied in the annual lampoon put on by the school’s student theater production, the Equity Playhouse.

Titled “Miami Law: Sold Out”, the skit chronicles the law school after Dean Patricia White “sells out”to a reality television producer for money, instigating a rabbit hole of outlandish wigs, slapstick quips and provocative professor impersonations.

Spoofs of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Honey Boo Boo and the cast of Jersey Shore all drew laughs. But the biggest ones came when current faculty were targeted.

Second-year law student Guerby Noel said he noticed the deans and professors took theirdepictions with a smile.

“I particularly liked when Professor [Mary Anne] Franks was parodied because she is the new face on campus and I agree, she is mistaken a lot as a student,” Noel said, referring to the skit where Franks runs out of class after a Nova Southeastern law student repeatedly asked for her number and to accept his Facebook friend request. “The best part was turning around and seeing her laughing at it too!”

By law students, for law students, about law students, the two-hour, two-act variety show requires months of planning and hard work, said show director and third-year student Liana Nealon.

“It was all written over the summer by [third-year student] Brian Stewart,” she said. “We then held auditions in the fall and started rehearsing in January.”

Begun in 1960 by the Society of Bar and Gavel, the Equity Playhouse is a team-building tradition aimed to integrate first-year students into the school. While Nealon, Stewart, the current president of Bar and Gavel, and the others directing and writing behind the scenes were in their second or thirdyears, most of the cast on stage were first-year students.

“Of the three years I’ve been doing the show, this year had the most first-years, and I’m proud,” Nealon said. “First year is stressful and this is a great way to get involved and deal with that stress in a positive way.”

Second-year student Joseph Matthews, who served as technical director, said that the Equity Playhouse, as unlikely as it may seem, instills first-year students with important career skills.

“As a lawyer, the spotlight is always on you, and you have to learn to perform under pressure,” Matthews said. “At Equity, you overcome that stage fright and that’ll only help you later in the courtroom.”

March 29, 2013


Jess Swanson

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.