The Originalist by John Strand

October 13, 15, 20, 21 and 22 AT 7:30PM; October 16 AND 23 AT 2:00 PM at Ensemble on the Avenue; 602 E. Mishawaka Avenue, Mishawaka. Please note that there is NO PERFORMANCE on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14. 

October 20th performance is by donation only.  Pay what you can! Tickets available online or at the door.

THE STORY: When a bright, liberal, Harvard Law School graduate embarks on a nerve-wracking clerkship with fearsome conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, she discovers him to be both an infuriating sparring partner and an unexpected mentor. John Strand’s critically acclaimed drama depicts passionate people risking heart and soul to defend their version of the truth. What does it cost us to suppress our fear and distrust, take a step toward the middle, and sit down with the monsters?

Directed by Melissa Gard and performed by Mimi Bell, Gary Oesch, and Michael Stamets

“…a timely, almost revolutionary work.” —The Economist.

“Now the country’s most famous legal showman has gotten his show…Mr. Strand writes lively, fluid dialogue, particularly for Scalia, who gets the best jokes and jabs…” —NY Times.

“The mission of THE ORIGINALIST is to get people to listen… it may be that rare play of political ideas that can woo audiences in territory marked blue, red or purple… You feel the force of the ideas, the bedrock of thought and of principle, even if you disagree.” —Washington Post.

“[THE ORIGINALIST] depicts robust, aggressive, passionate disagreement in a context of respect and developing friendship. It accepts power and winning as measures of success, but decency and kindness as even more important measures of a person. In that regard, it feels like a play we need right now.” —Chicago Sun-Times.

“THE ORIGINALIST is a meditation on Scalia’s judicial philosophy as he intellectually spars with Cat, his liberal law clerk. Their exchanges—cutting, fierce and comical—speak to the nation’s rancor in an era when even the Supreme Court has been tainted by allegations of partisan politics… the back and forth between the two is reminiscent of the snappy dialogue in Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn films.” —LA Times.

John Strand is an American playwright, journalist, drama critic, and author. Regional works include The Originalist, Our War, Tom Walker, The Miser, Three Nights in Tehran, Charity Royal, and his Charles MacArthur Awardwinning Lovers and Executioners (Arena Stage), An Italian Straw Hat (South Coast Repertory), Lorenzaccio (Lansburgh Theatre), Lincolnesque (Burstein Family Stage), Highest Yellow, The Diaries, and Otabenga (Signature Theatre), and The Cockburn Rituals (Woolly Mammoth Theatre).

Strand has received multiple play writing commissions from South Coast Repertory, Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre, and Signature Theatre. He was also named Playwright of the Year by Broadway Play Publishing.

Strand is also the author of the novel, Commieland, a novel about a popular but aging theme park in rural Pennsylvania that re-creates Communism for Americans through thrice daily performed musical-historical revues.


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