Much ado about The Lawyers Show.
By Tony Wilson
My colleagues, clients, friends, enemies, doctors, telemarketers, contractors, pool cleaners, sailing buddies and former Keg waiters were shocked and awed to learn that I had agreed to perform the role of an Evil, but misunderstood Shakespearean Lord with 49 words to say in “The Lawyers Show” in May. The play was As You Like It, a little light entertainment by Will Shakespeare, something with far better dialogue than a re-run of “Three’s Company,” but a similar plot line to about a third of the episodes I ever saw of the sitcom. This proves my point that if Shakespeare were alive today, he’d probably be writing episodes of Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother and Blackadder. (“The Horror. The Horror” I hear Christopher Gaze saying.)
Someone asked me what As You Like It was about, so I told them, in all seriousness, that it was the story of an Evil but misunderstood Shakespearean Lord with only 49 words to say. If I told them it was about wrestling, cross-dressing, the vagaries of love and a plotline resembling a season of Three’s Company, attendance might have gone down. (Or up. It’s Vancouver after all.)
But why on earth did I, your humble scribe lo these many years, born and raised in charming, leafy and tweedy Oak Bay, decide to act in a Shakespeare play on Granville Island? Well, many in the cast would say I didn’t act at all, so that solves that little conundrum (Bada-boom)! I stumbled a few times, blocked the lead actor and almost forgot my lines on the very first night. By the fourth night, (good thing there weren’t twelve nights or that would have been a really obvious Shakespearean joke), I stood in the right spot and yelled out my lines like an Evil Lord should – with piss and vinegar, volume and bravado. And of course, sheer evil. Then, when all my scenes were done in the first act, I scuttled off to the bar for a Corona until curtain call and emailed an old friend in Victoria about a restaurant deal. But “acting?” No. Not compared to the others.
I did The Lawyers Show because it was fun. I did it because it was for charity. But I principally did it because I have never acted before in anything in my life. It isn’t easy to act, but my debut was smoothed over by a contingent of other lawyers who had, and who were astounding to work with. A director, stagehands and other professionals experienced in the art of herding cats made for an unforgettable first act. As I wasn’t in the second, I have no idea what happened. I think everyone got married. Even the stage manager.
Of course, some of my friends were convinced that the play, when coupled with the Miata and the skyscraper jumping business I’m doing in September (operators are standing by for donations) is insurmountable evidence of some sort of mid-life crisis, and that I should be committed, with appropriate meds and golf clubs, to live out the rest of my halcyon days in a leafy and mini-vanned suburb…like Oak Bay. To them I would misquote William Shatner, not William Shakespeare. I am boldly going wherever I go these days, and getting a life in the process. You rarely regret the things you do in life on your deathbed. It’s the things you didn’t do that you regret. I hope to have no regrets.
Besides, although I can’t act worth a damn, I can write. One of the other actors acknowledged this over drinks on closing night. “Tony, maybe you should write next year’s play… that would really make it a Lawyers Show.”
Mmmmmm. Exploding law firms? My unpublished book about the Keg? Sharks? Old BarTalk columns? Sounds like something else for my bucket list. Good thing I know some actors now.
Vancouver Franchise Lawyer Tony Wilson practices at Boughton Law Corporation in Vancouver, and has written for the Globe and Mail, Macleans Magazine and Canadian Lawyer. email@example.com | www.boughton.ca/people/lawyers/tony_wilson
Note: The 2011 Lawyers Show will take place May 4-7, 2011.
This article was published in the August 2010 issue of BarTalk. © 2010 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.