Coronado’s Drama Department has done it again! 12 Angry Jurors showed off the acting talent of our Cougars, and how they are able to tell an important story and make it still relevant to today’s world, even with a cast of only thirteen and a relatively simplistic set.
The play was originally written in 1954, titled 12 Angry Men, it is a story of a jury that must make a unanimous decision as to if a young black man should be convicted of murder and deserves the death penalty. In the beginning of the show, eleven jurors vote guilty, leaving Juror Eight, played at Coronado by Ethan Ocken to be the sole dissenting vote. Over the course of the show, he is able to place reasonable doubt in the minds of both the jury and the audience. Themes include issues with the American legal system, racism, classism, and xenophobia, all of which makes the script still pertinent today.
The Coronado cast performed phenomenally, and each member brought something new to the stage through being able to portray their character well. Dylan Carter, 11, played Juror 7, who he described as a salesman who “doesn’t really care about deeper things,” and a “practical and simple man,” who has a goal to be anywhere but the jury room. He described the process of preparing for the show, saying that it was difficult because “for about a month and a half, we would have rehearsals almost every day, typically about an hour and a half after school. The week before performances it was two and a half hours after school every day.” Before performances, the cast arrived “an hour and a half before curtain, got in costume, got hair and makeup done, and then the rest of the time we were doing warm ups,” all of which paid off during the show, because the audience could clearly see that the costumes and makeup were well done and added to the impact and illusion of the show. Dylan also recognized that the show was a change, since it dealt with more difficult difficult themes. “Usually we go for comedies or over the top caricatures,” he said in regards to Coronado’s past record, “but this show was very human. And it told a very important story that really keeps people talking even after the show was done.” He also noted that he had to do a good deal of work to understand his character’s motivation and backstory, but believed that the work helped him portray a realistic and character. Throughout the story, Juror 7 changes, as do all the jurors. “As things went on, he started to dislike quite a few of the jurors,” Dylan explained, but he does “start to become convinced” that the boy on trial was innocent, which becomes one of the biggest shifts towards the resolution of the play.
Despite any difficulties in getting the show together, it all went beautifully during their performances. Dylan Carter summed it up when he said: “In the casting for these, even if you don’t see it at first, Mrs. Ambroz and the team always seem to put the perfect people in the roles. So I’m looking forward to even seeing any performances that we put on.”