has stuck with me.
After I had written the throwaway examples I suddenly realised that the lawyer could address a concern that had been bugging me: being truthful to the real life living persons. What I realised I needed was a disclaimer.
ACTOR LAWYER: Welcome to our show. This show is a tragic tale of a girl and her mongoose. Or maybe the story of a girl and a boy who happens to be a mongoose. Or a poltergeist. Or something. It is based on a reported series of events, with most of the characters based on real people. The intent of the playwright is not to smear anybody or paint unflattering pictures. But fiction being what it is, sometimes liberties must be taken. So without further ado, please bear the following in mind:
Actor produces a slip of paper and reads:
'All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.'
ACTOR LAWYER: Which is a statement the playwright grabbed from the "All persons fictitious disclaimer" wikipedia page. It would be, to paraphrase an unseen Three Stooges film, a bloody miracle if in fact the playwright managed to have any of the characters resemble real persons, alive or dead.
Admittedly, all of the above must be taken with a fine grain of salt. I am not a lawyer, though I play one on the stage.
Lights up on Actor, now the Lawyer. Standing behind a desk.
And as before. The stage transition from Actor to Lawyer is one of those areas where I may give the direction "the Actor becomes the Lawyer" for directors to interpret as they see fit. Were I to direct it myself, I'd probably have the actor appearing informally at the front of the space with the houselights up, and then use the lighting (houselights come down, spot comes up, say) to transition the actor back into the set to take their place as the Lawyer. Perhaps with an onstage costume addition (doing up a tie, slicking back hair).
Directions are the one place where I can pass some of the fun of creation to the director and actors.