The Shakespeare Theatre Company, recipient of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, presents its Annual Dinner and Mock Trial at Sidney Harman Hall(610 F Street NW) on Monday, May 11, 2015. This marks the 20th year that Shakespeare Theatre Company has put on the Mock Trial. The evening begins with dinner at 5:30 p.m. in the Forum, followed by the Trial at 7:30 p.m. in the theatre. A special session of the Supreme Court of La Mancha will review the decisions of the Family Court to declare Don Quixote mentally incompetent and his subsequent placement under the guardianship of his niece, Antonia.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will preside and will be accompanied by Justice Stephen Breyer, as well as Chief Judge Merrick Garland and Judge Patricia Millett, both of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Tom Goldstein of Goldstein & Russell P.C. andCarter Phillips of Sidley Austin LLP will argue the case. The Trial will be moderated byAbbe D. Lowell of Chadbourne & Parke LLP, chair of the STC Bard Association and STC Board of Trustees member.
Michael Kahn, Artistic Director of Shakespeare Theatre Company says of Mock Trial, “As I’ve often said, Shakespeare doesn’t tell us what to think, he tells us what to think about. This is what Mock Trial does so stunningly, it uses these classic stories as lenses to look at seemingly old issues and bring them to our modern, and legal, world.”
Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Mock Trial is sponsored by the Bard Association, STC’s affinity group for Washington’s legal community.
Since 1994, the Shakespeare Theatre Company has hosted a Mock Trial based on a play from STC’s mainstage season. The fictional court case poses a legal question, or questions, and the audience must act as the jury to decide the fate of the characters. The Trial aims to examine the links between classic works and contemporary legal theory in a way that is both thought-provoking and entertaining. Past Mock Trials have explored whether Malvolio (Twelfth Night) was entitled to damages for wrongful imprisonment; Iago (Othello) was guilty of the murders of Desdemona and Othello; Hamlet (Hamlet) was insane when he murdered Polonius; and if Sir John Falstaff (Henry IV) should have been compensated for his services to Prince Hal and reinstated as a member of the royal court. Last year’s Mock Trial concentrated on the characters in William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and argued whether the Duke of Vienna should be held responsible for abuses of power perpetuated by his appointed representative, and debated issues of illegal secret surveillance, false imprisonment, negligent appointment of an unfit deputy, and disrespect of commitment to religious vows.
This season’s Mock Trial focuses on the characters in Dale Wasserman’s Man of La Mancha and asks the question: Did the Family Court commit reversible errors of law and fact in determining that Don Quixote was mentally incompetent, and should the Family Court have appointed Sancho Panza, Don Quixote’s loyal friend, as his guardian, rather than his niece Antonia?
As word spread of Alonso Quixana’s (self-named and known to the world as Don Quixote) exhibited signs of mental illness or incompetence, his niece Antonia petitioned the Family Court to appoint her to be his guardian to protect his financial interests and to make medical decisions for him. In support of her petition, Antonia described Don Quixote’s hallucinations, his instigation of ill-conceived and ill-fated battles, his unwitting contribution to the brutal treatment of Aldonza, and his persistent inability to separate reality from illusion. Antonia stated that Don Quixote was unable to manage his assets, pay his medical expenses, or make financial decisions in his own best interests, and that he had been the victim of financial exploitation without even realizing others were taking advantage of him. Antonia’s fiancé, Dr. Carrasco, provided a petition of incompetency claiming to be Don Quixote’s treating physician and asserting that Don Quixote’s mental disability was permanent and that he had no ability to understand the nature of the proceedings or reasons for appointment of a guardian.
The Family Court heard extensive testimony about Don Quixote’s ill-fated escapades during his career as a knight errant, about his discussion of his “dreams,” his tendency to burst into song, and his claims of being a knight. His friends testified about Don Quixote’s idealism, courtesy, generosity, gallantry, and nobility. Sancho Panza said Don Quixote knew he was not really a knight, but simply liked to conceive of a nobler world inspired by courtesy and bravery. Don Quixote’s attorney argued that he did not need a guardian, but that if the Court disagreed, it should appoint Sancho Panza, not Antonia.
The Family Court appointed Antonia as Don Quixote’s guardian. On petition for review by the Supreme Court of La Mancha, Don Quixote has asked the Court to decide two questions:
1. Did the Family Court commit reversible errors of law and fact in determining that Don Quixote was mentally incompetent within the meaning of the laws governing appointment of guardians of property and persons?
2. Assuming Don Quixote was not fully competent to manage his affairs or make decisions about his medical treatment, should the Family Court have rejected Antonia’s petition as motivated by fraud and self-interest, and instead have appointed Sancho Panza, Don Quixote’s loyal friend, as his guardian?
Interested in Premium Seating and Dining with the Participants before the Trial?Tickets to the Dinner and Trial ($350) are available now. To purchase tickets please call 202.547.3230 ext. 2330 or contact MockTrial@ShakespeareTheatre.
Trial-only Ticket Prices
A Price: $75
B Price: $50 (limited availability)
Student: $20 (valid student ID required when picking up tickets)
Tickets on sale for STC donors and season subscribers on March 18 at noon.
Tickets for the general public on sale March 23 at noon.