12 Angry Men review

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By DAVID SCHEATZLE ‘17

“We have nothing to gain or lose by our verdict” [Juror 11].

On October 21, between 7:30-8:00 p.m., the audience was informed that Juror 2 would not be with us tonight. Please keep him in your prayers. However, the show must go on. A replacement was given a script earlier that day to fill in for the missing Harlequin. Aiden Mckeon ‘18 had a script in hand to insure that his character’s lines would be said correctly. From this point on the expectations set were bound to be out done by the cast.

When I arrived, the stage setup caught my eye. It was ironic, as the stage was nothing more than a table and chairs with a canvas and projector above and behind the set. The set was exactly the description: the jury room of a New York courthouse. It seemed dry. “How are they going to make this work,” I thought. I’ve been to multiple plays in my short career as an amateur critic, but this was odd. Usually the designs of set are intrinsically elaborate with different levels of the stage or eye catching props. The room was rectangular with a chair at the table facing away from the audience. The set always faces towards the audience with an emphasis on the audience’s ability to see every detail and have an experience that makes you feel a part of the action. This play changed my perspective on that. A projector was set up to show the characters facing away from the audience. The canvas was clearly visible, and the camera work as well done. The atmosphere was also interesting. The scenery convinced me of a 1950’s courtroom layout. And the overall tone and rhetoric of the play was engaging, which allowed the jurors to really connect with the audience. While my original thoughts were not on high, the way the set accommodated and flourished was a positive on the night.

My comfort zone around the set of any performance was stretched by the nature of this play, and I’m sure it had the same effect on the cast. The first night for any performance has to hang the nerves high for any artist.