Guest Column: ‘12 Angry Jurors’ a must-see, entertaining play

Published 9:00 am Sunday, March 5, 2017

Stage Right by Abby Leach

Walking into the Marion Ross theater, I was greeted by a stage that looked like a dark conference room with a large picture of Abraham Lincoln staring me down. Before attending the play, I knew the title was “12 Angry Jurors,” so any person could assume what they thought the play was going to be about. Little did I know, I would not only be watching a play that would make me angry at times, laugh at others and also have me on the edge of my seat, thinking what would I think in their situation.

Based on Reginalds Rose’s “12 Angry Men,” a 19-year-old boy is on trial for the murder of his father. The 12 jurors of this trial heard all the facts and evidence by both attorneys and now are to go and decide if they feel that the facts and evidence proves “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the 19-year-old boy killed his father. 

Email newsletter signup

The play opens with the guard, played by Marcy Tatro, walking into the dark, dingy jury room and mumbling to herself “he doesn’t stand a chance.” Starting the play with such a powerful line, I sat there thinking if he doesn’t stand a chance, then what is this play even going to be about? The 12 jurors walk in, and all start conversing about how the trial went and cracking jokes about what took place. When asked to vote on if they felt the boy was guilty, only one lone person felt he was not guilty. 

Abby Leach

Gary Schindler plays the foreman of the jury. As the foreman, Gary has the role of keeping the jury moving along and figuring out where each of the jurors stands. Gary does a great job playing his role as the foreman. Gary’s ability to show sympathy and anger, pulls you in, and gets you to think how you would be voting if you were part of the jury.   

John Laurie is by far my favorite character in the play. John plays juror number 8, but also plays the juror who is always playing devil’s advocate in the jury room. Throughout the deliberation, John brings out different facts that allows the other jurors to question their position of the case. As an attorney, I sat in the audience thinking how all this information was brought into the trial. John was the only juror who was thinking about the circumstances surrounding the evidence, something that is usually the job of the attorney!

Another one of my favorite characters was juror number 11, played by Randy Forster. Randy plays a European turned American, who at the beginning of the deliberation, causes turmoil and puts a sour taste in your mouth. By the end of the play, you start to feel for Randy’s character, and see the true good in him. 

The cast does a great job at painting the picture of what takes place during the trial. At the end of the play, I had the opportunity to talk to the cast.  During our discussion, they asked if this is what an attorney would expect to hear in a jury room. I told them during the play, I was curious more on who the attorneys were that let all the information in! 

This is a must-see play! The show opened March 2 but goes through March 11. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. 

Abby Leach is a lawyer who lives in Albert Lea.