Zaslove directs “The Test Case” – courtroom drama in an actual courtroom!

Test CaseSubject: Heaven on Trial: Courtroom Drama Staged in a Real Courtroom as Social Justice Takes the Stand


Seattle, Washington – September 20, 2015: Arne Zaslove directs “The Test Case,” a new play that asks whether there is implicit bias in heaven, written by a Seattle lawyer and performed by lawyers in a courtroom at the UW School of Law.

Seattle attorney Jim Lobsenz (of Carney Badley Spellman) has been a passionate advocate for civil rights throughout his career. Now he has paired his commitment and experience with imagination, and the result is a powerful new play. “The Test Case” turns some great spiritual and philosophical minds loose on the subject of social justice, and a group of distinguished colleagues is stepping forward to embody these fascinating figures. In keeping with director Zaslove’s mandate for site-specific productions, the play will actually take place in the Mock Trial Courtroom at the University of Washington School of Law, with audience members even occupying the jury box, and participating in a discussion after the show.

Lem Howell, legendary Seattle civil rights attorney, and pioneer of many ‘”firsts” for African-American lawyers here, plays his personal hero Thurgood Marshall. Howell praises “the brilliant dialogue Jim Lobsenz has given these historical characters.” Fellow attorney John Phillips (who plays Daniel Webster) says “I’m certainly glad there was no test for casting this play. I am delighted to be participating in such a provocative inquiry, which will be enjoyed not only by lawyers and friends of lawyers – but friends of social justice.” Phillips protests too much, in claiming that he was glad he didn’t have to audition. He was a fine actor in college, and still is: his scene with Marshall sizzles.

The cast also features Michael B. King as Socrates (rounding out a several-year association with Zaslove’s Hit and Run Theater Company). His students Phaidon and Crito are played by UW Law professor David Ziff and law student Thomas Miller. Venkat Balasubramani (of Focal PLLC) presides over the court as Mahatma Gandhi. Joining the cast are Susan Roe of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and arts and culture professionals Jennifer Lobsenz (of Path with Art) and Edward Wolcher (of Town Hall).

At a recent rehearsal, Lem Howell was talking about how a successful trial experience can feel like one is “dancing with one’s client.” Of performing in “The Test Case,” he says “I’ve tried a lot of cases on shifting ground, but this case in Heaven is the first time I’ve had to dance in the clouds.”

Only two performances of this one-of-a-kind staged reading and community discussion are planned: 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 2 and Saturday, October 3.

Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets at:

Directions to the University of Washington School of Law can be found at:

Claire Zaslove

Hit and Run Theater Company



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s