Currently running at Arena Stage is one of the strongest performances of the season in The Originalist. Likely the most famous stage actor in the District, Edward Gero plays the iconoclast Justice Antonin ‘Nino’ Scalia. Through the single act, one hour and 45 minute play, Gero takes on a mentor role to a young law clerk with decidedly opposing views to the longest serving judge on the Supreme Court. Viewed as a monster in the eyes of his rivals (and his mentee), Justice Scalia is a true originalist, interpreting the United States Constitution exactly as he believes the founding fathers wrote it. His mentee and law clerk Cat, played by Kerry Warren, on the other hand is as sharp as she is witty, and believes the Constitution is a living document meant to change with the times. As the two spar over the course of the play, we see a true respect for each others’ intellect and passion for their side. Gero’s take on the famed justice is as striking as his looks–he is a near mirror to the real man and his far right-wing views. As Nino and Cat tread heavily into the politically sensitive issues of same-sex marriage, abortion, and Second Amendment rights, the audience follows along into areas not conventionally discussed except behind closed doors. As the story grows, so does the relationship of the mentor and his young law clerk.

See John Strand’s The Originalist through April 26 at Arena Stage.

By: Shannon Vaughn

Editor-in-Chief, The Southwester

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