Saturday, April 29, 2017

Play a Day: Slingshot

Kia Corthron
For Saturday I read Slingshot by Kia Corthron, and available at New Play Exchange.

The hero of this play is a well-intentioned, kindhearted lawyer. That's not a punchline.

The premise is an accident, on-the-job, a young man falls from a height and is seriously injured. His father, who must care for him alone, solicits the services of a high-powered corporate lawyer who, for personal reasons, will work pro bono for certain cases.

I respect lawyers. I have friends who are lawyers. I do not make lawyer jokes. I understand that in the United States, the general degradation of the term "lawyer" among the middle-class has been employed for the benefit of the corporate class.

You know the coffee story? The MacDonald's coffee story? Of course you do. Frivolous lawsuit. Adam Ruins Everything did a piece on that lawsuit recently, you should see it. But I already knew the real facts of the case, because I hate urban legends which perpetuate stereotype and ignorance, and when I hear tales where a corporation is the victim, I am naturally suspicious.

Politicians write laws. Lawyers interpret and defend the laws. We need our lawmakers and law interpreters to be educated, experienced, and competent in writing and interpreting laws. Above all, they need to have ethics and integrity. As a nation, we no longer understand nor appreciate that.

Corthron's play is taut and tense, with colorful and flawed characters, all essentially decent, their intentions clear and understood. It's a legal thriller without any of your cigar-twiddling villains. What's at stake is very real and urgent, and the conclusion uncertain up to the final moment.

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