Closing Arguments: Monodic, Character Voices in Making Courtroom Drama
Connections between the legal world and the world of theater were made early in the life of drama. Oral arguments, for example, were scripted in Aeschylus’ THE EUMENIDES as Athena summons, “Litigants, call your witnesses, have ready your proofs as evidence under bond to keep this case secure.” Today, the courtroom as a theater in which trials are witnessed or viewed publicly is a common occurrence. Similarly, courtroom drama with its tightly woven plot, strict focus on tension and mounting suspense, sensational double twists, and a gallery of colorful characters is widely popular in novels, television, films, and on the stage. Often famous court cases are dramatized for the stage with varying degrees of historical accuracy. In an actual trial, the closing argument is a critical moment for the attorney who attempts to persuade a jury in favor of his or her client. On the stage, the dramatic convention of the theatrical monologue is often used to persuade an audience of a character’s actions. This paper will examine the authorial process of writing the theatrical “legal” monologue, connecting courtroom situations to fictional characters in the expression social and legal justice.
Keywords: Author Process, Literary Art, Performing Art, Social Justice
Prof. Dwight Watson
Professor of Theater, Chair, Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, Theater Department