The play 12 Angery Men by Regonald Rose shows the stress and frustration of making a decision that will completely change someones life. The story unfolds as 12 men of a jury are asked to deliberate beyond reasonable doubt whether a 16 year old boy knifed his father to death.
There is a witness who said that she saw the murder happen throught her window as a train was going past and an old man who said the he heard the thump of the body hitting the floor as someone ran away. Everyone on the jury seems to think that the boy is guilty as all the evidence points to him commiting the murder, except for one juror who “just wants to talk”. Before he sentences a young man to death, he wants to make sure that the fasts are right.
12 Angry Men Essay is a gripping exploration of what goes on in a jury room as 12 complete strangers from different economic, cultural and educational backgrounds come together to decide the fate of someone they have never met.
Ms Hammond took our class to see this play at His Majestys Theatre on the 18th of February were we would not only see a world renouned production but a story of making the right decisions but standing up for what you believe in. The different characterizations in the play showed the strengths and weaknesses of characters and they influence the story.
One of the strongest characters was Juror No.3 played by Stephen Frost, a towering bully of a man whose unhappy relationship with his son prevents him from thinking clearly about the young man charged with the crime. His bigotry is exceeded, however by the naked class prejudice of Phil Nichol’s Juror No. 10, whose outburst of hatred is so chilling it alienates the rest of the jury room – one of the play’s most intense moments.
Another strong character was Juror No.8 played by Owen O’Neill, this character changed the minds of 11 men from sending a man to death bacause they could see past the fact that he had to have done it, to looking more deeply at the evidence to find that it does not quite match up afterall. There were also characters in the play that were some what weak as they did not have much to say and just went with the crowd.
The setting of the play was a room with a large desk in the middle of the stage and a bathroom to the side. The theatre was a precsenium arch theatre and the audience could see reasonably well from all the seats.
The lighting consisted of one ceiling light hanging over the desk and a bathroom light when a character walked in. The SFX used was the sound of lightning and the basin in the bathroom when someone turned it on to wash their hands. I feel that the sound of the water flowing when the characters were washing their hands was not neccessary as it was quiet and did not have any effect towards the play.
The characters in 12 Angry Men were quite believable because in life we meet people just like them, some who are strong and others who are weak. The quote from the play as another character says to Juror No.3 (Stepen Frost)
He’s not your boy” and Juror No. 3 replies “Let him live”, shows the struggle of coming to terms with the thought that some eles life is in your hands and that you have the power to decide their life.
The play is basically timeless and universal in it’s exploration of how the justice system works in democratic countries, and it’s lessons still apply. The debate over guilt and innocense between these 12 men reveals no system is perfect and that it takes courage – as shown by the only juror not willing to convict at the outset – to expose its flaws. The strong ensemble of actors and the powerful performances of Stepen Frost and Phil Nichols make 12 Angry Men a play not to be missed.