Cheryl Lubin

Barnes and Noble

All Rights Reserved


While law and performance were once viewed as distinct realms of discourse and practice, media coverage of trials and plays about the law have compelled examination of their interplay in modern culture. Lawyers perform in an ongoing effort to persuade, and stage performers recreate singular moments in legal history to incite social awareness, invite escapism, or trigger catharsis. Performance and law are both art forms that are conjoined through narrative patterns, linguistic terms, and dramatic themes. This work seeks to expose and explore four distinct areas in which law and performance are increasingly connected in the world today: language, historiography, trauma, and popular culture. Chapter one considers how legal language contained within plays lends a dramatic urgency to the performative moment that is reflected in real-life trials. Chapter two spotlights the Scopes “Monkey Trial” of 1925, in which lawyers performed before the world media and local audience, and chapter three considers how victims’ testimony in crimes against history have reshaped the meaning of performing law in court and on the stage. Finally, chapter four offers a glimpse into the accessibility and changing shape of “performed law” in a digitalized media age.