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The Audience Goes Mad For 12 Angry Men/Women

By Amanda Madenburg

“One man died, another man’s life is at stake.” The vote must be unanimous. South High’s performers contemplated this situation in this year’s winter play: 12 Angry Jurors, written by Reginald Rose.

On Feb. 6-10, two casts—separated by gender—brought an old play to life. The story takes place in a humid, stuffy deliberation room as 12 jurors decide the fate of a young man accused of murdering his father.

Although the play was originally written for men, director Mr. Tommy Marr decided to add another version with an all-female cast. “There is actually a script called 12 Angry Women, but we changed a few things here and there to make the script less sexist, even for the time it was written,” explained Mr. Marr.

Having two casts allowed Mr. Marr to experience a new perspective in directing.  While deliberating with a practice jury before they started rehearsing, Mr. Marr said he “got to see the different behaviors between the girl group and the boy group.”

This year, instead of the typical three-sided audience, there was a unique arena staging, so the audience members surrounded the play. Since the set—one stifling courtroom—stayed the same throughout the entire play, the audience was able to see all sides of the set. Freshman Brooke Ferber said, “[The arena seating] allowed for a more intimate experience in which [the audience] could connect with the characters.”

The students had been working hard since the beginning of December, and their dedication paid off to make this show a success. “The actors were integral in staging the play,” said Mr. Marr, and the performers were encouraged to “trust their instincts” in terms of acting and moving on stage.

Sophomore Michelle Geffner, Juror Eight in 12 Angry Women, said, “I feel like I’ve learned to make decisions without too much ‘over thinking.’ That’s admittedly been a problem of mine. But it’s really nice to feel like I’m getting better at it.”

Directors, performers, and audience members alike looked forward to seeing the product of such intense rehearsals. “It was nice for the actors to show an audience what they’ve been working on for months,” said Mr. Marr.

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Deep in thought—In the all female cast, senior Anoush Baghdassarian contemplates the innocence of the accused

Reproduced by permission of Anna Zagubizhenko

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The fate-determining debate—In the all-male cast, senior Benjamin Zander states his argument to juniors Alex Schecter and Edward Goldschmid.

Reproduced by permission of Melissa Powsner

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