The Washington Post

Aspiring Supreme Court justices, your ‘Arguendo’ photo-op awaits

Want to become a Supreme Court justice, with no pesky confirmation hearing required? Head over to Woolly Mammoth, where a lobby display for the current production of "Arguendo" will soon become one of the most Instagrammed objects in this crawling-with-lawyers city. It's an aspirational photo cutout that allows you to put your face in the lineup for the justices, and every 1L in D.C. who's not outlining in the library is going to caption the photo "Justice [insert last name]."

The lobby display at Woolly Mammoth's newest production, "Arguendo." (Maura Judkis/The Washington Post)

The play, presented by Elevator Repair Service, is a fanciful reenactment of the 1991 First Amendment case Barnes vs. Glen Theatre, in which a group of exotic dancers challenged a statewide ban on public nudity that required them to wear pasties and a g-string while performing. (Those items are on display a few feet away from the visage of then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist).

Five actors play all nine of the justices, as well as the counsel and journalists. The dialogue comes directly from the arguments, but the staging, through which Elevator Repair Service questions the meaning and scope of the definition of "dance," -- a point of contention in the real-life case -- is a playfully irreverent case of contempt of court.

Tip: If you haven't seen "Hair," which is referenced in this show, you might want to head over to Keegan Theatre for a double feature of sorts. Incidentally, both shows might be the nakedest D.C. theatrical productions of the year.

Elevator Repair Service ARGUENDO Trailer from ERS Theater on Vimeo.

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read
Your Three. Video curated for you.
Next Story
Maura Judkis · April 3, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.