The Birkbeck Law Project’s Mock Trial: Snow White – Vs -The Evil Queen

On a Saturday morning Snow White rushes down the halls of Birkbeck to meet The Evil Queen and compliment her outfit. The two queens hug and kiss each other, brightening up the atmosphere with their outfits and high spirits.

Further along, King Costel (Emporer’s New Groove) is taking selfies with Robin Hood’s Prince John, a lawyer in robes runs to print documents, and a Mirror appears to ask if anyone has seen Grumpy the Dwarf yet.

Grumpy (Maria Bermeo) and Snow White (Debbra Goldreich)
Grumpy (Maria Bermeo) and Snow White (Debbra Goldreich)

No, this isn’t some parallel universe where Disney characters commute from the Endless Realm to attend classes; this is The Birkbeck Law Project’s first Mock Trial of the year, Snow White – Vs -The Evil Queen: The Attempted Murder of Snow White.

The audience is ushered into court, witnesses like myself (usually excluded from the court until time for our testimonies) are allowed to watch so long as we don’t let what we see cloud our statements. As the judges take their seats we are asked for “silence in court” and it becomes clear that while the costumes are elaborate (and most of the witnesses ridiculous) everyone involved is taking this seriously.

The judges and lawyers formally introduce themselves and after, a brief ‘lawyer’ moment where the jury leaves the room for some motions to be put forward to the judges, the trial of The Evil Queen begins.

Lead Counsel for Prosecution (Tim Wright)
Lead Counsel for Prosecution (Tim Wright)

The first witness is called Snow White and gone is the woman from the hallway who was making phone calls and directing people to their places. Here she’s replaced with a simpering young lady who loves to clean and talk to animals and whose only trouble in life is not being allowed to sing in court.

The lawyers take no prisoners though and Snow White is grilled by the defence on her perceptions of her stepmother, the lack of interest she places in remembering the exact dates of events, and even her choice in Handsome Princes.

Snow White doesn’t break character once and cheerfully answers even the most damning questions with smiles, waves and an offer to share her recipe for mushroom pasta.

The Mock Trial
King Castel (Henrique Nobre E Queen), Dwarf (Liliane De Souza Reis) Doc Dwarf (Arthur De Souza Reis), Prosecution (Trisha Wing), (Behind) Dory the fish (John Lindner), Snow White (Debbra Goldreich) Grumpy Dwarf (Maria Bermeo), (Behind) Handsome Prince – (Unknown – please inform if you his name), Lead Prosecution (Tim Wright), Defence (Lisa Gallagher), Lead Defence (Rory O’Donovan), Judge (Bill Bowring) (lecturer!), Lead Judge (Aisling O’Regan), The Huntsman (Ahmed Razzaq) Prosecution (Loveeza Aslam), Prosecution (Ben Van Keymolen)

Witnesses called throughout the day include hilarious renditions of Dory the Fish “yes I’m a natural blue” whose memory was questioned “wait, why is everyone looking at me?”, Grumpy the Dwarf who may have feelings for Snow, a wonderfully catty King Costel who can’t be sure what he saw as he was busy looking at his own reflection, and testimony from the Magic Mirror (which was given, questioned and defended in rhyming couplets).

When the Handsome Prince wasn’t sure of his testimony, the lawyers pounced and made a case for him being an overzealous admirer who might have benefited from Snow needing true love’s kiss (all in the name of casting “reasonable doubt”, but rather him than me!).

Finally The Queen herself had a chance to state her case and she did not disappoint, sassy and selective with the truth she made us all laugh as she defended herself admirably, making light of accusations that she might be sleeping with The Huntsman: “No I’m not having an affair, he’s a thing that I own…so maybe I lie on him sometimes…”.

Other witnesses include an impressively dressed King John who “spends a lot of time in Nottingham right now to deal with outlaws” and The Huntsman who says The Evil Queen really did intend him to murder Snow White (with a spoon!).

King Castel (Henrique Nobre) & The Handsome Prince
King Castel (Henrique Nobre) and The Handsome Prince.

My turn to take the stand came; as an “expert witness” I had diagnosed The Queen with Paranoid Schizophrenia – she thinks her mirror is talking to her and believes Snow is coming for her crown with a group of small men – and I had a great time insisting I didn’t have a drinking problem (but I did!).

Holding everything together though were the lawyers, who intelligently matched their questions to the testimonies and made strong cases for both sides, and the third queen of the day has to be the firm-but-fair judge who coolly made calls on what was relevant, what wasn’t clear, and when to tell characters to be quiet.

Everyone involved had clearly worked hard to create an inclusive show that allowed students to engage with the trial process and get involved. I was thoroughly impressed with the amount of preparation that had clearly gone into making the day a success and with everyone else who agreed to lend time to support The Law Project. We’re all looking forward to the next one.

he Evil Queen (Liliane De Souza Reis)
The Evil Queen (Liliane De Souza Reis)

 Written by Hana Faber as an expert witness for the Mock Trial and Student of Psychology (BSc) at Birkbeck)

For more information on the Birkbeck Law Project Society click here. Follow Hana Faber and the BBK Law Project on Twitter.

3 thoughts on “The Birkbeck Law Project’s Mock Trial: Snow White – Vs -The Evil Queen

  1. Interesting diagnosis, Hana. Perhaps I can offer my own, decidedly non-“expert”, opinion.

    By her own admission, Snow White is a creative type. Her time is spent going to the “magic forest”, picking “special” mushrooms and “talking to animals”. It just so happens that her foray into the forest at the time of the incident coincided with the start of the UK magic mushroom picking season.

    I suspect that Snow White is a veteran cosmonaut of inner space, a merry prankster, a psilocybin joyrider who forages for cosmic meaning beneath the oneiric trees of the enchanted forest.

    The spectators of this psychedelic circus were treated to a disorienting sense of the expanding possibilities of the universe, with a side order of dilation of my psyche as it struggled to encompass them.

    Why did the case need two independent psychiatric assessors? Like Golyadkin’s search for identity, their testimony was a compote of contrary valuations. Was the audience meant to seek some meaning in the plot of the narrative? Perhaps the Talking Mirror was a portal into a mystical consciousness? Perhaps the Dwarves were some strange idols of an some totem cult? Perhaps the Fish, clearly no stranger to sly entheogens, was just stuck in a permanent flashback.

    In addition, to say that the lawyers were “holding everything together” may be a bit strong. The prosecution’s case would have required a true leap of faith and, at times, a leap of logic. I would have not been surprised if the ghost of Aldous Huxley was called as a key prosecution witness, only then to do a reading from The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

    Saturday 11th October was an afternoon of magic, if ever there was one.

    Keep up the good work.*

    * But stay off the mushies.

  2. The events as I see them…(Snow White – PART 1)

    Snow white was born
    Her hair was shorn
    As bald as a baby coot
    Her skin was dry
    Yet none denied
    She was a princess head to foot

    As time did fly
    You’d hear them cry
    Her hair is black as ebony!
    With rose red lips
    She had curvy hips
    And cheeks quite snowy whitey
    As you can see, she’s changed a lot
    With great, long hair and a beauty spot
    But there IS a thorn is Snowy’s side
    Her dear, beloved mother died
    And despite the tears that Snowy cried
    The King took on a second hand bride
    And a first hand big problem

    With serious thoughts on interior decor
    The queen brought a magic talking mirror
    To question, as it could not error

    One fateful day this caused a scene!
    That caused Queenie to flash with green!
    She asked “who is this land’s most fair?
    The answer made her nostrils flare!

    “Tell me now great looking glass
    Who is the one with the fairest arse?
    Like Marilyn and Audrey Hep,
    Who’s the one for Jonny Depp?
    Whose beauty throws them in a trance?
    The one with whom they want to dance?
    Reflect upon it! Answer Me!
    Which bit of skirt do they want to see?!”

    The mirror squirmed, it had no choice
    The maddening truth, it had to voice!

    “If it’s ‘most feared’ that you want to be
    There’s no doubt that belongs to thee
    If you’d have ‘best shoes’ or ‘finest gown’
    Once again you take the crown
    But if it’s to be ‘fairest’ that you seek
    The outlook for you is rather bleak
    Your beauty efforts have been blighted
    That title has been Snowy Whited”.

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