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Juror Susan O’Hara, standing, makes a point as her fellow jury members Stewart McDermet, left, and Bahman Mahdavi look on during this scene from the Rock River Player’s production of “Twelve Angry Jurors.”

The Arts

Rock River Players present ‘Twelve Angry Jurors’

Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door; to reserve in advance and for more information, write to verbatimvt@gmail.com. Rock River Players, a nonprofit theatre collaborative, grows on the inspiration and initiative of those who wish to see the arts thrive in the West River Valley.

WILLIAMSVILLE—The Rock River Players present Twelve Angry Jurors by Reginald Rose Oct. 11 to 14 at Williamsville Hall on Dover Road.

A riveting courtroom drama about a jury’s deliberation in a homicide trial, Twelve Angry Jurors (originally Twelve Angry Men) was televised in 1954; soon adapted for the stage, it was then made into a highly-acclaimed film. Rose’s timeless piece has since evolved into myriad productions around the globe.

Twelve Angry Jurors depicts a jury forced to consider a homicide trial. At the beginning, they come to a nearly unanimous guilty verdict, with a single dissenter of not-guilty who, throughout the play, sows a seed of reasonable doubt.

Several jurors have different reasons for discriminating against the defendant: his race, his background, and the troubled relationship between one juror and his own son.

The RRP jury of eight women and four men — Bahman Mahdavi, John Moran, Dawn Slade, Susan O’Hara, Dody Riggs, Miles Keefe, Addie Mahdavi, Kayla Williams, Stewart McDermet, Rose Watson, Johanna Gardner, Rebecca Musgrove — finds itself in intense, heated, and passionate debates until the denouement.

Bill Lincoln rounds out the cast; Annie Landenberger directs; Tanyan Avendano assists.

Cast member Dody Riggs says, “Twelve Angry Men is one of my all-time favorite movies — great acting and a powerful message. It has been a tremendous challenge and an eye-opening experience to tackle this play that bears such relevance today.”

Fellow juror Stewart McDermet adds, “Having men and women, all different personalities, compelled to decide a complex issue — the fate of a fellow human — is powerfully appropriate at this time in the world. People of the play are moved to realize truth beyond their personal biases, beyond ‘alternative facts,’ and to open themselves to other possibilities.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #480 (Wednesday, October 10, 2018).

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