Is He Guilty … Or Not Guilty?

The latest Western Reserve Academy arts production, 12 Angry Jurors, hit the KFAC stage on the final weekend of January. From the moment the first curtain rose, the immense work that went into this production was evident. This play was adapted from the television program Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose, but the members of the cast were able to make the performance their own.

Directed by Mrs. Donalee Ong, the production features thirteen characters, twelve of which are locked in a deliberation room until they reach a verdict on a murder case. Despite having all twelve angry jurors on stage for the entirety of the performance, this play made each and every one of their characters shine. Adjoa Tettey-Fio ’17, who played the Foreman, remarked, “My favorite part was watching all of our different characters slowly take form and begin to play off of each other.” While the performances took place over three days, months of continuous practice went into perfecting every scene. However, along with hard work came fun times. Abby Goodman ’17, the actress of Juror #4, reminisced, “One day after practice, there was a drum set, and Mrs. Ong sat down and went to town on it while pretending to be a drummer. We all bonded and became closer.”

The contributions of the crew behind the scenes are not to be forgotten, either. While the sheer stage presence of the actors, such as Joey Randazzo ’17 and Elliot Ong ’17, were stunning, they were far from the only ones that made the show such a great success. The handmade scenes, lighting, props, posters, and costumes were just as brilliant as the mesmerizing acting and diverse cast.

12 Angry Jurors had what would seem at first glance to be a simple story: one juror must convince all the others that the defendant is innocent. However, thanks to the brilliant work of talented Reserve students, this play entranced and captivated its audience, taking all the boredom out of actual jury duty and replacing it with the suspense and mystery audiences would expect from Sherlock Holmes. The audience was able to follow along with the thought-provoking case, making their own conclusions and continuously having their perceptions challenged. Thanks for another great show, Pioneers!

-Aidan Johnson ’18

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