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Intensity and passionate debate pervade McLean’s courtroom

Roopali Kulkarni, a student at Stone Bridge High School, reviews “Twelve Angry Jurors” performed by McLean High School as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program.

An over-heated jury room, a controversy over the final verdict, arguments leading to reasonable doubt, and twelve jurors who ultimately decide a young boy’s life are all elements in McLean High School’s recent production of “Twelve Angry Jurors.”

“Twelve Angry Jurors,” a modified name for “Twelve Angry Men” when women are cast as jurors, is a 1954 play written by Reginald Rose, which was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film (lost in three top categories to “The Bridge on the River Kwai”) in 1957. The play follows twelve jurors debating over the innocence of a 19-year-old boy accused of murdering his father.

McLean High School’s production was anchored by the ability of the twelve jurors to act as one dynamic, cohesive acting group, even if at times they were dysfunctional and ready to implode. The cast members, only known by their juror numbers, executed strong character personalities and developed their own identities. The precision of the line delivery and the chemistry among the actors resulted in a gripping performance.

The lead actors and actresses emitted their energy, and although the build-up of emotions was not always present, the actors still developed dynamic characters. Vanessa Bretas, who played Juror 8, convincingly portrayed a brilliant juror who never broke character. Matt Parent Higginbotham, who played Juror 3, realistically displayed resistance towards Juror 8, and their interaction on stage provided persistent heat and anger.

Many of the supporting actors and actresses added humor, emotion and intensity to the jury room. Elliot Duffy, who played Juror 12, delivered his lines with perfect comedic timing. Meredith Bloom, who played Juror 2, portrayed a humorous, innocent juror and her change of heart was especially realistic. Julia Katz, who played Juror 10, gave a superb performance as the “heat was getting to [her].” She aptly demonstrated strong emotions throughout the show.

The technical features helped the show. The proximity of the audience with the actors on the stage, allowed minor details, such as make-up and costume errors to be noticeable. However, it did not detract from the cast’s well-performed production. The lighting effects, done by Max Lindsay and Martin Zavala, were executed with precision and added to the show’s intensity. The set was meticulously laid out and further added to the realism of the show.

The production of “Twelve Angry Jurors” was full of passion, intense group dynamic and well-developed characters. Judging by these factors McLean’s high school performance of this theater standard was good beyond a reasonable doubt.

By Roopali Kulkarni, Posted by Mario Iván Oña  |  April 28, 2010; 7:50 AM ET
 | Tags: Cappies 2010  
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