Theater and Law across Cultures and Frontiers
Since the times of Ancient Greece, when “society” and “the State” were subsumed into and joined in the term, “polis,” Theater and Law/Ethics have interacted and relied on each other.
In Greece, drama tended to serve socio-political, cultural,religious, and other functions. It was a device for presenting and addressing serious and important public ethical, religious, and political issues, thereby building citizenship and engagement of the artists with public leaders and members of the public, in works by Aristophanes, Euripides, Sophocles, and Aeschylus.
And since Athenian drama, the relationship between law and drama has been a constant whether one looks at Rome, medieval European drama, Renaissance Italy, Elizabethan/Jacobean drama, or the French classical stage for thousands of years.
Performance and Entertainment do not merely entertain; they engage, educate, inform their audiences, not only of the intentions of the authors, performers, artists, and producers, but also of the currency of issues, problems, strengths, and weaknesses of the particular or specific society, in which they are presented.
A few examples of the intersection of Theater, Law, and related fields/disciplines today are the following. Certain U.S. law schools are now teaching their students the skills of the Theatre, to help them to be better practitioners. More plays in public performance are presenting Law-related and Socio-political themes. In Higher Education settings, students are role-playing as participants in mock court trial and appellate settings.
The sponsoring organisation, The Law Theater Project (www.lawtheater.com) , is a new endeavour, dedicated to the following:
This session invites participation across the disciplines, in which Law, Social issues, Theater/ Performance/Entertainment, Politics, Economics, Ethics, meet, cross-pollinate, and present relevant matters for public viewing and consideration. We invite anyone, who is interested, from any Legal/Law-related Culture, in these and other relevant fields to write and present papers, plays or other literature, bearing on topics and issues, related to these areas. The potential is broad and open, for a wide range of presentations, from the World's rich diversity of legal cultures and languages.
Registrations for this panel should go direclty to the NeMLA convention URL; questions about parcipation and content should be addresse to Dr Samantha M. McDermitt