Mark Scrivener is an accomplished Australian playwright with a selection of diverse material to his name. In the last year, his publications have included a play about haiku master Basho and a new translation of Goethe's "Faust". His most recent work "The Worthy Master of the Law" is a surprisingly comic piece, proving Scrivener to be as adept with humour as he is with chaos and meditation.
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Vulpes is a lawyer, the kind of lawyer that usually features in jokes. Being a man of considerable intelligence but little conscience, he takes delight in taking advantage of those around him. From his poverty at the outset of the play, there is reason to think that his abuses do not always pay off. None the less, he is intent on swindling a local draper in as many ways as he can. The consequences are ridiculous, farcical and very entertaining.
Scrivener has given the play a medieval setting, so we see the lawyer making off with new cloth and defending a shepherd, rather than any of the more complex financial swindles of our own time. The principles (or absence thereof) remain the same however. An intelligent man with few inclinations to be kind to those less intelligent than himself can wreak all kinds of havoc and get away with it.
The play is ideal for small theatre companies, requires little in the way of a set and makes an excellent read.
The review of this Book prepared by Bryn Pearson