Examining what it means to truly perform citizenship and honestly dole out justice, 12 Angry Jurors, Sherman L. Sergel’s modern adaptation of Reginald Rose’s classic play, contains intense, hearty performances in its thoughtful production.
Produced by West of Broadway as both a literacy and civic responsibility tool, the play operates interactively, asking the audience to vote on the defendant’s guilt or innocence and, therefore, possibly predict the outcome.
The presentation is both entertaining and informative as it reveals 12 jurors locked in an anteroom to consider the fate of a young defendant accused of murdering his father. Reflecting the increasingly rude and selfish American population vociferously protesting at health meetings, deliberations sometimes grow angry and tense. Jurors must question their own prejudices, responsibilities and consequences of their votes.
Director Diane Namm creatively utilizes the small space, enhancing the rhythm, pulse and intensity of the piece. The cast energetically moves the story along with their fine performances.
Three actors particularly stand out. D. Kevin Kelly brings a thoughtful and deliberate conscientious to Juror No. 8; calm but coiled. Heather Stewart makes Juror No. 4 a strong, confident, conciliatory presence. As the reserved but experienced immigrant, Juror No. 11 (Ali Saam) exudes a quiet, introspective dignity.
An intelligent adaptation of what it means to seriously perform jury duty and thoughtfully practice justice, 12 Angry Jurors explores the prejudices, attitudes and duties of American citizenship.
West of Broadway, in association with John Lant and the Write Act Repertory, presents “12 Angry Jurors” Saturdays at 2pm through October 24 at the Write Act Repertory Theater (6128 Yucca St. in Hollywood). Weekdays are available for school reservations. Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased online at www.westofbroadway.org.