How the prosecution rests

For more than a decade, law students have packed houses and relieved stress as the Theatre of the Relatively Talentless.
Tracy Hoyos-Lopez and Meredith Leake lead the dance to "Take A Walk" in a scene of "Clue: A Murder Mystery in Mondale" at Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis on Friday. This production was put on by the Theatre of the Relatively Talentless, and the cast was entirely made up of law students.
By
  • Daily staff
March 10, 2014

Although they call themselves talentless, a group of University of Minnesota law students brought a sold-out crowd to its feet Saturday night with their rendition of an ’80s cult classic.

Law students in the University’s Theatre of the Relatively Talentless performed in front of two packed houses at the Pantages Theatre this weekend, giving actors and audience members a break from studying.

Nearly 2,000 people attended the Friday and Saturday shows, cheering on the cast of 85 students as they danced, sang and acted in their comedic musical, “Clue: A Murder Mystery in Mondale.”

“It’s kind of quirky — like law students are — and we thought it’d be a good fit for us,” show director and second-year law student Mathew Morrison said.

For more than a decade, law students have written and produced original adaptations of plays to give them a creative outlet and chance to build relationships outside of the classroom.

“This gives us the opportunity to do something different that’s also a mutual interest,” said Sarvesh Desai, a third-year law student and co-producer for the show.

The scripts poke fun at the daily woes of students in Mondale Hall with references to large student loans and the outdated law building, while including cameo performances from top University administrators.

President Eric Kaler and Law School Dean David Wippman took the stage this year, playing themselves and causing a wave of laughter to fill the downtown auditorium.

Kaler teased about the dungeon-esque law building, joking that he definitely wasn’t in the Carlson School of Management.

“These jokes are written by people in these organizations, so everyone knows it’s all in good nature,” Morrison said.

Former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Gov. Mark Dayton have made appearances in past shows.

The cast practiced up to five hours a day during the week leading up to the elaborate three-hour performances, packed with intense choreography and a live pit orchestra.

“Most of the leads, I would say, were probably just theatre geeks in high school seizing the opportunity of being able to do it again,” said Meredith Leake, who played Miss Peacock in the show.

Rehearsals began more than two months ago, and Morrison said the script-writing process continued until the final showing as the students continually molded and changed their characters’ dialogue.

“It’s not really something you expect out of law students,” Desai said.

Besides receiving revenue from ticket sales, individual donors and area law firms donate to the production annually.

“Some of our bigger donors have been patrons for many years,” Leake said. “It’s kind of become a staple in the law.”

Though participating in the show can sometimes take time away from necessary studying, Morrison said, no one walks away regretting their decision to join.

“It’s a huge time commitment,” he said, “but it’s totally worth it.”

 

Roy Aker, Tyler Gieseke, Meghan Holden and Mitchell Yurkowitz contributed to this article.

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