Willsboro Central School actors bring the play “12 Angry Jurors” to the stage.
Foreman, Juror #1 - Mikaela Salem
Juror #2 - Adam Mero
Juror #3 - Connor Sheehan
Juror #4 - Taressa Lacey
Juror #5 - Dana Klein
Juror #6 - Benjamin Jackson
Juror #7 - Mat Longware
Juror #8 - Laura Klein
Juror #9 - Regan Arnold
Juror #10 - Austin Ferris
Juror #11 - Warren Jackson
Juror #12 - Max Longware
The Guard - Erinn Walker
Voice of the Judge - Oliver Lee
Voice of the Clerk - Joelle Steeves
Willsboro Central School students will give an intimate performance with the audience taking to the stage for their portrayal of modern-day Reginald Rose’s Emmy Award-Winning Classic Drama “12 Angry Jurors.”
The 12 student actors from grades four through 11 act out the explosive drama of jurors trying to figure out if a young man accused of murdering his father is guilty. The audience will be right there with the jurors as their debates move from logical, to explosive, back to logical throughout the performance ending with a conclusion that will determine if the defendant lives or dies.
“The school auditorium is vast and I wanted the students feel the intimacy of the audience. Plus, I wanted them to think differently,” said play director Derrick A. Hopkins. “The mind set of this play versus presenting a musical is very different. I put (the play) into consideration because I love the intensity of the drama and how the issues it addresses still is relevant in today’s society.”
The play follows the jury deliberation of a trial of a 19-year-old man has just stood trial for the fatal stabbing of his father. It looks like an open-and-shut case—until one of the jurors begins to debate if all the evidence points to his guilt.
As one juror stands alone to say not guilty the 11 other jurors must come to terms with their own prejudices and personal experiences to see if in their hearts they believe the defendant is guilty. The deliberations become personal, with each juror revealing his or her own character as the various testimonies are re-examined, the murder is re-enacted and a new murder threat is born before their eyes.
Connor Sheehan, a ninth grade student actor who plays Juror Number 3, said to prepare for the part he and other student actors must contain themselves to not overwhelm the audience.
“We get really into the scenes and sometimes I’ve gotten up quick and spilled something where the audience is going to be,” said Sheehan. “Some of the fights we need to control ourselves.”
Taressa Lacey, a ninth grade student actor who plays Juror number 4 said getting into character was a great experience.
“My character can really relate to the case because she came from a slum and hasn’t seen her child for three years,” said Lacey. “My character says at one point he could feel the knife in his chest like the father of the boy in trial.”
Through the deliberations the characters show more and more about themselves and there differences that is learned about the man on trial.
“People are going to see a lot of conflict between all of the jurors,” said Laura Klein who plays Juror Number 8. “There is all kinds of anger, logic and emotions in this play.”
The jurors’ final verdict and how they reach it—in tense scenes that will electrify those in attendance and keep them on the edge of their seats!
Hopkins said in an e-mail that “through the support and encouragement from the Board of Education and Superintendent, Mr. Broadwell, the Club is finally able to bring this sensational and beloved play to the stage. The students have really taken on this challenge. Each student is on stage the entire play and it has been a Master Class in the fundamentals of acting. Being engaged, listening, reacting, and bringing their emotions to a boiling point has been integral aspects of the teaching process. I am so impressed with the level of growth and dedication these young actors have taken in their preparation of this classic drama.
Performances will be performed on May 30 and 31 at 7 p.m. and June 1 at 2 p.m. The production will be held on the Willsboro stage in the round. Admission is $5 and seating is limited to 90.