David Clark | Issue 20

David Clark | Issue 20

Law Revue

was chuffed to receive an invitation to the University of Otago annual Law Revue a few weeks ago. For me, live entertainment with satire that nudges boundaries is an indispensable part of life on campus. It should be celebrated at every opportunity. 

Along with its more grandiose cousin, the Capping Show, the revue fulfils an important role.  Underneath the jocular entertainment, there is reflection on those things that really shape lives at university. 

This year’s show confronted the fear every generation of Scarfies has — that a unique way of life is in jeopardy. In Star Wars theme, the heroes of the law revue’s Star Laws production battled the ever-present threat that “the Force” would be thrown out of balance by an over-emphasis on study, at the expense of recreation.

On one level, the skits covered predictable ground: notable personalities, music, relationships, debt, life in the law library, career prospects and nightlife. But they were fresh and clever, with enough insider jokes to make the experience unthinkable in another context. You had to be there. Literally.

The fear that student life is changing is, of course, real. It is always changing. But no one should fear the end of a rounded education. Law firms will never hire on grades alone. Their clients never ask to see a lawyer’s academic records.

Of course, good grades matter a great deal. They always have. Maybe they matter more than they once did. Plenty of the sketches dealt with the ravages of doubt and the consequences of failure.

The morning after the revue, I had brunch with a friend from my early Scarfie days. Her career has taken her to Europe, the Middle East and Australia. She practised law for 15 years before focusing on kids. What we canvassed as we ate were the lives of people we’d formed friendships with while on campus. We talked about the world and New Zealand: how it was, and how we would like it to be. Not once did we discuss our grades. 

Friendships, values, hopes and dreams are forged with new steel on campus. Life’s ups and downs can’t easily take these from you. Time in tertiary education is formative. It makes us better people and our world a better place. Now that is something worth reflecting on.

This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2015.
Posted 2:38pm Sunday 16th August 2015 by David Clark.