Cooley Law sponsors annual theater festival 'Stages of the Law' enters fifth year

By Roberta M. Gubbins

Legal News

For the fifth year, Thomas M. Cooley Law school is sponsoring "Stages of the Law," the annual theater festival of five law themed plays at five different theaters in the Lansing area. Each play will feature one "Talk Back" session led by a Cooley Law School professor explaining areas of the law featured during the play.

"We are very excited to do this," said Mike Siracuse, Riverwalk Theater Business manager. "We felt that the law can be fun and can be interesting."

Melissa Kaplan, Production Director, Humanities and Performing Arts Department, Lansing Community College agreed. The program has "encouraged us to explore the vast subject matter that is the law, not only the crime scenes and the courtrooms but also those aspects that are fundamental to how we live our daily lives and how we build a society."

Kaplan went on "to thank Cooley Law School for being actively involved in creating this theater experience for the community and for building a good collaboration between theaters. The five theaters that are participating are Mid-Michigan Family Theatre, Lansing Civic Players Underground, Stormfield Theatre, Riverwalk Theatre, and Lansing Community College theatre program."

An important part of the Stages of the Law program since its beginning has been the "Talk Back" session led by Cooley Law School professors who discuss the play's legal implications. The "Talk Backs" and a reception will be held on Fridays immediately following that evening's performance. They are scheduled for:

--Mid Michigan Family Theatre, The Trial of Tom Sawyer, Oct. 1, 7 p.m.

--The Lansing Civic Players Underground, Misery, Oct. 15, 8 p.m.

--The Stormfield Theatre, Among Friends, Oct. 22, 8 p.m.

--Riverwalk Theatre, The Farnsworth Invention, Oct. 29, 8 p.m.

--Lansing Community College Theater, A View from the Bridge, Nov. 12, 8 p.m.

"Patrons who attend the Cooley performances will receive a stamp card. Those acquiring three stamps will receive a special Cooley gift pack, patrons attending five "Talk Backs," will receive two tickets to a show from each of the participating theatres schedule in 2010-2011 season and a Cooley gift bag. Also part of the "Talk Back" sessions, we offer special discounted pricing--buy one ticket, get another ticket free."

Don LeDuc, President and Dean of Cooley Law School, looked back at the beginning of the program. "As the story goes," he said, "the idea for the Stages of the Law came from Riverwalk Theater's William Helder who brought the idea of a series of plays to be sponsored by Cooley. He was inspired by Cooley's founder, Tom Brennan, who played the role of judge in the Riverwalk production of Inherit the Wind. The play was held in Cooley's auditorium."

"Over the past four years, Riverwalk and Lansing Community College have participated in the series combining great theater with legal and ethical themes," he said. "This year there are five theaters participating. The arts often explore life's profundities and absurdities, the depths of human depravity and heights of human goodness."

"In today's world of rapid communication and instant analysis, Cooley is pleased to help provide our community with an opportunity to take some time to reflect and gain perspective on the human condition and how the law relates to that condition. All communities, in good times and hard, need both the arts and the law. Especially in hard times, we need to keep the arts alive and well. Cooley is pleased to help these five organizations whose performances make this a better place."

For more information including a description of the plays, visit www. cooley. edu/stages/index.html. Tickets for the performances can be purchased at the individual theater's ticket office.

Published: Thu, Sep 9, 2010