WHAT: The Originalist by Charles MacArthur Award winner John Strand
and directed by Molly Smith.
WHERE: Arena Stage’s Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle
WHEN: March 6 – April 26
There is controversy about exactly what an “originalist” is and certainly Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is controversial. But there is no question as to the fact that Justice Scalia is one of the most brilliant as well as polarizing figures of our time, nor any doubt that Molly Smith, Arena’s acclaimed director, has made the right choice in selecting acclaimed DC actor and four time Helen Hayes Award winner Edward Gero to star as Justice Scalia in this world premiere political drama.
The story revolves around the battle between the Justice’s conservative opinion and the liberal opinion of his bright law clerk, Cat, who is played by Kerry Warren. Both have legal and intellectual arguments to offer.
Arena Stage is less then one mile from the Supreme Court building. Many Washingtonians have likely seen Justice Scalia in person. But this play is not a bio or documentary about a public figure. While it takes place in his private chambers, on a Virginia shooting range, and in the U.S. Supreme Court, this is not a law lecture but living theater with moments to make us laugh as well as to think.
As Cat discovers that the Justice is both an infuriating sparring partner as well as a supportive mentor, the suspense builds on how this will affect one of the most incendiary cases to reach the nation’s highest court. The audience can also pause and think, after hearing all the intellectual and legal arguments, “What would I decide?”
The Originalist Special Events
WHAT: Post-show discussion with Playwright John Strand
WHEN: Following 14 preview performances from March 6 – 18, 2015
WHAT: Post-show discussion with Author Joan Biskupic.
Biskupic has covered the U.S. Supreme Court for more than 20 years and is the author of several books on the court as well as a regular panelist on PBS’s Washington Week with Gwen Ifill.
WHEN: Sunday, April 12, following the 1 p.m. matinee
WHAT: Additional post-show conversations
WHEN: March 17 and 25 following the noon performance, April 2 following the 8 p.m. performance, and April 14 following the 7:30 p.m. performance.
By: Sheila Wickouski