Review of Theater’s 12 Angry Men: The show ran November 8-11 and was led by student Assistant Director Molly Klemm


By Lydia Stonerook

   From the moment I walked to my seat on the stage for the Saturday night performance of 12 Angry Men, I was transported back to the 1950s; a time of black and white film and rock ‘n’ roll music. Elvis Presley sang over the speakers and the entire stage was covered in gray set pieces. 12 Angry Men, written by Reginald Rose in 1954, follows the deliberations of twelve jurors who are deciding the verdict in a case concerning a boy accused of killing his father. The men must come to a unanimous decision; a guilty verdict will result in the death penalty.

    The costume and makeup department covered the actors with gray body paint and put together gray outfits fit for a court room. The tech crew constructed the set in a round format allowing the audience to sit in the middle of the action. This feature made the play more interactive, especially when a few audience members had to move back in their chairs during a scuffle on set.

   In a majority of theater’s past productions, the main characters were teenagers. From Anne Frank to Dorothy, students tend to play roles around their own age, making it easier to personally connect and therefore portray them. However, in 12 Angry Men, every character is an adult with a backstory unlike anything the actors have experienced, but that didn’t stop these boys from portraying their characters beautifully.

   Although the title of the play insinuates a main topic of anger, which there was quite a bit of, I realized there was much more to the story. Through the jury’s deliberations the characters explore what it means to be human.     From the beginning, Juror No. 8’s compassion for others leads him to use logic to prove the defendant not guilty, despite the evidence against him. Juror No. 9 (Devam Patel) explains how it feels to lose one’s sense of importance with age when he is able to relate to an unreliable witness. Juror No. 5 (Ben Palewicz) explores the discrimination faced by those born in different places, in this case a poor, crime riddled neighborhood. Juror No. 3 struggles with removing his personal experiences from the court case when he continues to compare the accused boy to his own son. Finally, Juror No. 12 (Cooper Josties) illustrates the effects of peer pressure on our decisions when he repeatedly swings between a guilty and not guilty verdict.