A cast member runs across the Utopia Theatre stage, dinosaur hobbyhorse in hand and law school stress nowhere in sight during last year’s production of “Game of Loans.”
Founded in 1953, Assault & Flattery is a musical theatre group of 55 law students who write, produce and perform a parody show of pop-culture franchises each spring.
“We do kinda break the stereotype,” said Elena Thompson, Assault & Flattery producer and law graduate student. “Everyone thinks law students are very cut and dry and super boring and have no sense of humor, and we’re just here making a parody of ‘Mamma Mia’ and calling it a day.”
This year’s show, “Scalia Mia!: May He Rise Again” will take place Feb. 27-29 in the Utopia Theatre in the School of Social Work. It tells the story of a law student who is deciding between three different pathways in the law field, a struggle Thompson said is common when entering law school.
Thompson said writing the show is a collaboration amongst all cast members. If someone says a funny joke, members will collectively chant, “Put it in the show! Put it in the show!” Many of the lines in the show are from this tradition.
Jason Gallant, Assault & Flattery business director and law graduate student, said the atmosphere created by the people who join the group make UT Law feel less stressful and more like a community.
“In a way, an organization like (Assault & Flattery) is inevitable in this environment because half of the stuff that we joke about in the script is basically what people observe on a regular basis in law school,” Gallant said.
Even if students don’t have a particular talent, director and law student Patrick Sipe said all are welcome to join.
“The first thing on the audition sheet says talent not required, and in some ways,1 it’s probably better if you don’t have any, because that’s just more fun,” Sipe said.
Thompson said the group is by no means professional. With interactions from the audience and the group’s tendency to go off script, Sipe said last year’s show ran long because they were having too much fun.
“Five of my friends who came to see the show last year loved it so much that they’re all in the show this year,” Sipe said.
The group does more than perform, Sipe said. They also participate in weekly trivia nights, karaoke and dog-watching picnics in Zilker park.
Assault & Flattery goes against the typical law school attitude of only participating in activities for students’ professional development or résumés, Thompson said.
“Law school can be really overwhelming at times,” Thompson said. “The biggest thing for us is making sure that we make it a really fun place to be. I think if we make it a haven from law school, it sustains itself.”