The History of 12 Angry Jurors

Life is in their hands-death is on their minds!

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The History of 12 Angry Jurors

Katherine Nonnenkamp, Staff Writer

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At 7:30 on November 15, the curtain in the Performing Arts Center will open to expose the simple set of a jury room to the audience. An unseen voice will layout the groundwork for the rest of the play – “One man is dead. The life of another is at stake.”

This is a murder trial, and 12 jurors will decide the fate of one man.

For their fall play, the Good Counsel Theater Company has elected to perform 12 Angry Jurors

 “We were trying to select shows that provide opportunities for actors to grow,” says Ms. Pozderac, the 12 Angry Jurors director. “For 12 people to really act.”

Developing the craft of acting are critical parts of every rehearsal. The actors begin with developing their character from every perspective. The script is slowly introduced, with pages taking from 20 minutes to just 1 to rehearse. By Tech Week, the final week of rehearsal, the entire script is run, along with the introduction of technical elements such as lights and sound. The actors have to be focused and “on” the whole time, making sure their character and emotions are displayed to the audience.

“Whenever anyone goes to see a piece of theater, you want them to think, and you want them to feel,” states Ms. Pozderac. “It’s this idea of asking yourself as an audience member, ‘How does this make me feel?’”

Whenever anyone goes to see a piece of theater, you want them to think, and you want them to feel”

— Ms. Pozderac

Ian Coursey takes center stage as Juror #8, with Sean Dunphy rivaling as Juror #3. Lexi Rakis, Clara Harney, Rachel Kilgallon, Scott Russell, Josh Allen, Bea Ieronimo, James Williams, Addison Deckert, Olivia Booth, and Isaiah Bowes play the rest of the 12 jurors and Michael Howes, as the Guard.  Olivia Wanat is the Head Stage Manager.  This is Ms. Pozderac’s directorial debut with the Good Counsel Theatre Company.

Mr. Townsend leads the crew. Kate Allen, Tori Hogan, August Vittone, Beth Morris, Susan Fritschi, Mary Stamford, Joanna Dugroo, Maura Martin, Jack Bykowski, Lauren Walston, and Megan Hull head different crew departments.

“I would love for people to see the play and be impressed and recognize the good work that our students have done,” Ms. Pozderac says.

Reginald Rose crafted this play, originally a teleplay entitled 12 Angry Men, in 1954. It was based on Rose’s real jury experience: a “terrific, furious, eight-hour argument” as Rose was quoted in the Internet Movie Database. The play was produced ten years later. 

The film, produced in 1957, starred some of the biggest stars of its time, such as Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb. Despite performing poorly at the box office, 12 Angry Men was nominated for three Oscars. The rehearsal period lasted only two weeks, with the actual filming clocking just under that. 

“Everyone comes into this room with their ideas about whether the guy on trial is guilty or not, and they bring in their prejudices and their own experiences. And then once they are in that room, they are not allowed to leave until they agree,” sums up Ms. Pozderac.

The play will run on the 15th and 16th, with shows at 7:30 pm both days and a 2:00 pm matinee on the 16th. Tickets are on sale now. They are $15 reserved online and $18 at the door. Good Counsel students attend free, and students from other schools with an ID are $10. 

(Ticket link: https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/35455)