UT law students deviated from the no-nonsense world of their legal studies Saturday evening to partake in a celebration of irreverence, wizardry, parody and performance.
Assault & Flattery, UT law’s student-led theater troupe, performed “Harry Potter and the Order of the Peregrinus” for a sold out theater Saturday evening. The performance marked Assault & Flattery’s 60th anniversary.
In the play, Potter and his band of magic law students are pit against Draco Malfoy and the Slythegreens in a struggle for highly-coveted judicial clerkships, which are controlled by Snemily Snadens, an ally of the Slythegreens and Voldemort. Snemily Snadens' character is one of several in the play that are based on former and present-day UT faculty. Emily Kadens, former UT law professor, inspired the character.
Familiar elements from the Harry Potter series were used to poke fun at the law school experience. The play’s antagonists were called “Job Eaters” and Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility was an oversized T-shirt emblazoned with a St. Mary’s University School of Law logo.
Songs like “Welcome to Your Cubicle,” based on One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful,” “Law Prof’s Paradise,” based on Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise” and “I Believe In a Thing Called Law,” based on The Darkness’ “I Believe In a Thing Called Love” were written and performed by students.
Kazoo-driven renditions of popular songs were performed throughout the evening by the Assault & Flattery band, which also accompanied several of the songs in the performance. Medley, UT law’s a cappella group performed between the first and second acts, adding to the slew of legal humor and parody through their own reworking of popular music.
Henry Joel Simmons, a UT law student who co-directed the play and starred as Harry Potter, said the event helps lighten the otherwise unrelenting atmosphere surrounding the law school experience.
“Law school is infamous for being extremely stressful and extremely reverent,” Simmons said. “I think it’s really important for students [to] take it upon themselves to lighten the mood a little bit, let students realize that there is some humor in the law school experience.”
The play incorporated current events into its narrative, which ensured that those in attendance who were not law students followed the material. Further, an “Abridged Desk Reference” containing legal terminology was inserted into the playbill for the sake of non-law students in attendance.
Puja Parekh, a UT law student who acted in the play, said the play was designed to appeal to all students.
“We can’t just have law school jokes,” Parekh said. “Not everyone in the audience is a law student. We try to have current political events, things that are going in Texas and the world to have everyone relate to the show a little bit more.”
Members of Assault & Flattery run the group like a professional theater troupe, building sets, designing costumes and writing all the material.
Anna Kuntz, a UT law student who designed the costumes for the play, said Assault & Flattery gives law students a unique way to express their concerns and artistic ambitions.
“It’s a good creative outlet,” Kuntz said. “We’re usually stressed out and this a good way to express ourselves.”
Published on March 4, 2013 as "School of Magical Law".