Puns about the law will proceed without prejudice as University of Alberta Faculty of Law students present the 24th annual Law Show, a fundraising event popular throughout Edmonton’s legal community.
On February 1 and 2, more than 150 students will mount a satirical play titled Neverlaw: The Peter Pan Story, at Myer Horowitz Theatre.
Much like the original Peter Pan, the show’s plot revolves around a boy who doesn’t want to grow up, but in this version he doesn’t want to leave law school.
“It pushes people out of their comfort zone,” said Emily Machura, co-executive director for the show. “Seeing all the 1L’s, 2L’s, and 3L’s performing like this is pretty unique.”
Each element, from the script (which was developed over the summer), to the choreography, marketing and stage production is a product of law students volunteering their evenings and weekends. The cast and crew rehearsed throughout the fall semester, and then ramped it up during an intensive two-week boot camp prior to opening night.
“It’s kind of neat watching people that have never danced before become the most excited to show off their new skills,” said Alyssa Kim, a third-year who is president of the Law Students’ Association as well as dance director for the show. “There’s a lot of moving parts, and boot camp is when we see everyone in the different groups (such as dancers, actors, band) working together.”
When it was conceived in the mid-1990s and for many years after, Law Show was a variety show consisting of a series of sketches. For the past several years, students have mounted full-on musicals.
“This year, we’re really trying to utilize the band,” said Machura. “We’re going to have more musical cues and background music, for example.”
As always, the show brims with whimsical folly that satirizes what it is like to leave law school and step into the real world. For participants, sometimes Law Show is actually a bridge to that world.
“We have students who will be in court the week after law show and they'll be recognized by lawyers in the halls,” said Jesse Chisholm, co-executive director for this year’s show. “In one instance, a student was even complimented on his dance moves. It’s a great way to break the ice with so many people in the legal community.”
Last year’s show sold out both nights and producers anticipate the show’s popularity will create the same success this year.
“It’s crazy how many people have heard of Law Show — even lawyers out in Toronto ask about Law Show,” said Kim, who worked for a law firm in that city last summer.
As one of the oldest and largest clubs for UAlberta Law students, Law Show donates all of its proceeds to a local charity or not-for-profit, choosing one organization as the recipient for a term of three years. This year marks the second year that proceeds will go to WIN House Edmonton, which offers emergency services for women and children fleeing domestic abuse.
A silent auction will also take place during the intermission of Saturday’s show to help generate additional funds for WIN House.
Corporate sponsors for the show include law firms Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Witten LLP, McMillan LLP, Duncan Craig LLP, Field Law LLP and Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP.
“You hear people say, I was in Law Show 20 years ago,” said Kim. “It speaks to the impact in the community.”
Tickets for Law Show are $20.