2019-2020 SEASON OPENING
September 13 & 14
Théâtre Raymond Kabbaz, the innovative performance space at Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles, kicks off its’ 20th season with “Plaidoiries” (Pleadings), a solo performance with famous French actor and director, Richard Berry.
The play resurrects the closing arguments of five attorneys in cases that had significant public impact in France:
In 1972, Gisèle Halimi paved the way for the legalization of abortion with an astonishing speech in defense of a teenage girl and her relatives, on trial for abortion after a rape;
In 1976, Paul Lombard made the case for the innocence of Christian Ranucci who was one of the last men to be sentenced to death and guillotined in France for the murder of an 8-year-old girl;
In 1998, Maurice Papon is convicted of crimes against humanity for his part in the deportation of Jews under the Vichy government between 1942 and 1944;
In 2009, Véronique Courjault confessed killing three of her babies because she suffered from a psychological condition known as “pregnancy denial”;
In 2015, Jean-Pierre Mignard pleaded on behalf of the family of two boys, Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré, who were electrocuted after taking refuge in a power station as they tried to escape police chasing them. Their deaths sparked violent riots and clashes between youths and police across France.
The production is based on a book by Matthieu Aron, a longtime court reporter who is now deputy editor in chief at the news magazine L’Observateur. Without recordings, French trial arguments are generally lost to posterity; to counter that, Mr. Aron opted to reconstruct 45 of them, using his own notes as well as shorthand court archives and lawyers’ copies of their arguments.