"A spellbinder... physically and psychologically thrilling", "Incandescent" - NATIONAL POST
"Classic jury-room drama still packs a wallop", "A gripping revival" - THE GLOBE AND MAIL
"Very powerful" - TORONTO STAR
The fate of a young man accused of murdering his own father lies in the hands of twelve strangers crowded into an oppressively hot, claustrophobic deliberation room. A single dissenting voice rings out "not guilty" planting the seed of reasonable doubt and unraveling what was seemingly an open-and-shut case. Tempers flare and human nature is tested in this classic jury-room drama.
Approximate running time: 2 hours. There will be one 20 minute intermission.
Tony DeSantis, Foreman of the Jury
Derek Boyes, Juror 2
Joseph Ziegler, Juror 3
Tim Campbell, Juror 4
Byron Abalos, Juror 5
Michael Simpson, Juror 6
Cyrus Lane, Juror 7
Stuart Hughes, Juror 8
Robert Nasmith, Juror 9
William Webster, Juror 10
Jordan Pettle, Juror 11
Joe Cobden, Juror 12
Andre Sills, Guard
Alan Dilworth, Director
Yannik Larivée, Set & Costume Designer
Kimberly Purtell, Lighting Designer
Richard Feren, Sound Designer
Eric Armstrong, Dialect Coach
Kelly McEvenue, Alexander Coach
Marinda de Beer, Stage Manager
Ashlyn Ireland, Assistant Stage Manager
By Paula Wing, Resident Artist
The ingredients are simple and powerful: twelve strangers who are serving on a jury in a murder trial, a cramped deliberation room, a long, stiflingly hot afternoon, the burden of coming to a unanimous decision. At least it's an open and shut case. A young man is accused of murdering his father in a fit of anger. There's motive, a murder weapon (a knife owned by the defendant), and an eyewitness who saw the accused fleeing the scene of the crime. Eleven of the twelve jurors arrive in the deliberation room prepared to sentence the teenaged defendant to death. The lone dissenter is Juror Number Eight. He insists they review the evidence because, after all, a life hangs in the balance. What follows is an electric drama that relies on revelations of character and the power of argument for its special effects.
Twelve Angry Men first appeared in 1954 as a teleplay on CBS. A year later its writer, Reginald Rose, turned it into a stage play and in 1957 it was made into a classic film starring Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb. Many years later, the writer talked about what had inspired the story: his own experience with jury duty in New York City. "I was on a jury for a manslaughter case, and we got into this terrific, furious, eight-hour argument in the jury room. I was writing one-hour dramas ... and I thought, wow, what a setting for a drama."
Rose was known for ensemble writing and realism. Small but telling details accumulate in the play, always serving to amplify the tension. For example, the elderly jurors need to use the bathroom more frequently than their younger counterparts, which triggers strained tempers and so reveals character. What is still compelling to watch is how each juror brings all of his experience, wisdom, prejudice, fear, resentment, hope and uncertainty to the unenviable task of deciding one particular young man's fate.
Seeing that justice is done remains difficult today. Conclusive proof of guilt or innocence is still hard to come by. The issues this fictional jury faces are those faced by real-life juries every day: how can a person be fairly judged? If you hold someone's life in your hands how can you be sure you're doing the right thing? Surely anyone who is accused deserves their Juror Number Eight: someone willing to presume innocence even in the face of strong circumstantial evidence, someone willing to take the time to be absolutely sure of their verdict.