VOL. 110 | NO. 83 | Friday, April 26, 1996
Entertaining motions in its fifth year
Special to The Daily News
While Law Week is for the most part a serious celebration of the multitude of contributions that lawyers, judges and the rule of law make to our society, theres one night each year when these otherwise painfully dignified folks let their hair down. Entertaining Motions, now in its fifth year, is a night for lawyers, judges, paralegals, legal secretaries, court reporters and various legal wannabees to roast the system and themselves. And they do so with no holds barred.
This years performance, "Pulp Legal Fiction," will take place at Playhouse on the Square on April 30 at 7 p.m.. Doors open at 6 p.m. with a light supper and beverages available before the show. Tickets, if any remain from advance sales, will be available for purchase at the door for $15 per person. Any proceeds from the event go to benefit the pro bono projects of the Memphis bar.
"There are no limits of bad taste on this night," said one enthusiastic participant. "We make fun of everybody, including ourselves, and everything. Its all in fun, and no one has complained, yet."
As one wag noted, the ticket price of $15 is a small price to pay to watch lawyers make fools of themselves. And rumor has it that Elvis always makes an appearance, although he bears a strong resemblance these days to Judge Robert Childers.
This years script has been in production since September 1995, with regular work from such local humorists as Aleece Hiller, Jeff Rosenblum, Preston Wilson, Tom Federico, Robert Beckman and Karen Dennis. Resident song parodist James Bradley never fails to delight. Had you attended last year for example, you might have heard the envious Memphis judge singing (to the tune of Roy Orbisons "Crying") "I was all right/for awhile/I could try a decent trial/Then one day on TV/I just happened to see/a guy named Judge Ito/Sitting right on the bench/It was a cinch/That he was/ T-r-ying O.J.s case/ T-r-ying O.J.s case/Very cool, he could be/Overru-l-ing F. Lee/And still be t-r-ying..." or "Lady Lawyer" or "Speaker of the House." The hits just keep on coming.
Fortunately for all concerned, Aleece Hiller will once again direct the players, who started rehearsals for real on April 16. Preston Wilson will once again coordinate the efforts of the all-lawyer band, the Soul Practitioners, who are, by all accounts, an extremely talented group of musicians.
Karen Dennis, executive director of Memphis Area Legal Services, is the shows producer this year.
"What that means is that I can take all the credit if its good and stick Aleece with all the boos if its bad," she quipped. "Seriously, my job is to oversee all the elements of the show location, script and direction, ticket sales, program ad sales, food, etc. I naturally find the best people to delegate all of that to so I can concentrate on advancing my own stage career."
Ticket sales began in March, and many seats are already gone. The other really big concern for Entertaining Motions is the sale of ads in the program.
"We try to get local law firms and practitioners to let their hair down and invent funny ads for the program," said Dennis. "In addition, we solicit ads from local vendors, especially those who deal with lawyers a lot, like computer vendors and court reporters.
"But really, anyone with something to sell and a sense of humor is welcome. The ad prices are very reasonable, and there are hundreds of people in the audience who will see the ad and remember it if its creative."
Last years winners for the most creative ads were Computers and Networks (Mick Anderson) and Norman Hagemeyer, a sole practitioner. This year, Libby Roleson, a paralegal at Evans Petree (producers of some very funny ads themselves) took on the dual tasks of ticket and ad sales and did so most ably. If you missed your chance to buy an ad this year, start composing, because this is an annual event, and next years program will be in production before you know it.
If you would like tickets to this event, call Anne Fritz or Mary Walpole at the Memphis Bar Association at 527-3573. Be there or be square.