Twelve Angry Men (play)

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Twelve Angry Men Roundabout.jpg
Written by Reginald Rose
Place premiered The juror's room
Original language English
Subject A courthouse drama: a boy's life at stake in the hands of the jury
Genre Drama
Setting 1954, late summer in a court jury room

Twelve Angry Men is a play by Reginald Rose adapted from his 1954 teleplay of the same title for the CBS Studio One anthology television series. Staged in a 1964 London production, the Broadway debut came 50 years after CBS aired the play, on October 28, 2004, by the Roundabout Theatre Company at the American Airlines Theatre, where it ran for 328 performances.

Characters and story[edit]

The drama depicts a jury forced to consider a homicide trial. At the beginning, they have a nearly unanimous decision of guilty, with a single dissenter of not-guilty, who throughout the play sows a seed of reasonable doubt. The story begins after closing arguments have been presented in the homicide case, as the judge is giving his instructions to the jury. As in most American criminal cases, the twelve men must unanimously decide on a verdict of "guilty" or "not guilty". (In the justice systems of nearly all American states, failure to reach a unanimous verdict, a so-called "hung jury", results in a mistrial.) The case at hand pertains to whether a young man murdered his own father. The jury is further instructed that a guilty verdict will be accompanied by a mandatory death sentence. These twelve then move to the jury room, where they begin to become acquainted with the personalities of their peers. Throughout their deliberation, not a single juror calls another by his name because the names are unknown to the jurors. Several of the jurors have different reasons for discriminating against the defendant: his race, his background, and the troubled relationship between one juror and his own son.

Productions[edit]

Rose wrote several stage adaptations of the story. In 1964, Leo Genn appeared in the play on the London stage, directed by Margaret Webster. In other theatrical adaptations in which female actors are cast the play is often retitled 12 Angry Jurors.

Harold Pinter directed a production of the play, which opened at the Bristol Old Vic on March 7, 1996.[1] With set design by Eileen Diss, lighting design by Mick Hughes, and costume design by Tom Rand, its cast included Stuart Rayner (Juror 1, Foreman), Kevin Dignam (Juror 2), Tony Haygarth (Juror 3), Timothy West (Juror 4), Maurice Kaufmann (Juror 5), Douglas McFerran (Juror 6), Tim Healy (Juror 7), Kevin Whately (Juror 8), Alan MacNaughtan (Juror 9), Peter Vaughan (Juror 10), Robert East (Juror 11), Christopher Simon (Juror 12), Joshua Losey (Guard), and E. G. Marshall, as the Voice of the Judge.[1]

In 2003, the British producer/director Guy Masterson directed an all comedian revival[2] at the Assembly Rooms including Bill Bailey as Juror 4, Phil Nichol as Juror 10, Owen O'Neill as Juror 8, Stephen Frost as Juror 3 and Russell Hunter as Juror 9 during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which broke the existing box office record for drama at the Fringe Festival and garnered much critical acclaim.[3]

The Roundabout Theatre Company presented a Broadway production of the play, starring Boyd Gaines as a more combative Juror 8, with James Rebhorn (Juror 4), Philip Bosco (Juror 3), and Robert Prosky as the Voice of the Judge.

In 2005, the British producer/director Guy Masterson directed a hugely successful Australian version of his hit Edinburgh 2003 production produced by Arts Projects Australia and Adrian Bohm[4] at QPAC Brisbane, Sydney Theatre and Melbourne Athenaeum including Shane Bourne as Juror 3, Peter Phelps as Juror 4, Marcus Graham as Juror 8, George Kapiniaris as Juror 2 and Henri Szeps as Juror 9.[5] This production won three Melbourne Green Room Awards and a nomination for "Best Play" at the Helpmann Awards.

In 2007, L.A. Theatre Works presented a production of the play that was recorded as an audiobook; directed by John de Lancie, the cast included Dan Castellaneta, Jeffrey Donovan, Héctor Elizondo, Robert Foxworth, James Gleason, Kevin Kilner, Richard Kind, Alan Mandell, Rob Nagle, Armin Shimerman, Joe Spano, and Steve Vinovich.[6]

The London West End production opened in November 2013 (running until March 1, 2014) at the Garrick Theatre. Directed by Christopher Haydon, the cast included Martin Shaw, Robert Vaughn, Jeff Fahey, Nick Moran, Robert Blythe, Miles Richardson and Martin Turner.[7]

In 2014, Independent Theatre Pakistan performed an adaptation of this play at Alhamra Arts Council, Lahore, directed by Azeem Hamid.[8]

Screen adaptations[edit]

Starring:

Sweeney and Voskovec repeated their parts in the 1957 film.

Starring:

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards
  • 2005 Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Play
Nominations
  • 2005 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose, The Bristol Old Vic, 7 March 1996". HaroldPinter.org. Harold Pinter. March 7, 1996. Retrieved March 7, 2009.
  2. ^ Theatre Tours International Past Shows
  3. ^ Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Scotland.org.
  4. ^ Theatre Tours International Past Shows
  5. ^ Guy Masterson's Australian Production of 12 Angry Men
  6. ^ "Twelve Angry Men". DC Public Library. Retrieved April 11, 2010.
  7. ^ Mountford, Fiona (November 12, 2013). "Twelve Angry Men, Garrick Theatre - review". London Evening Standard. Alexander Lebedev/Evgeny Lebedev/Daily Mail and General Trust. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
  8. ^ "Pakistan Today Paperazzi Issue #25". issuu. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  9. ^ Studio One In Hollywood: "Twelve Angry Men", IMDb

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]