WASHINGTON — Guilty or not guilty is the decision Washington High School’s cast of “12 Angry Jurors” will have to make during their fall play this weekend.
The show, traditionally known as “12 Angry Men” has been adapted to fit the cast of six women and six men, according to director Brett Pierson. For his directorial debut, he said he was looking for a show he was familiar with and would challenge the students.
He said although the big challenge was adapting the script to make sure the characters written to be male could be played by females, it was smooth sailing after thanks to the dedication and talent in the cast. As a speech coach, Pierson said he has seen students actively searching for harder, more in depth material and knew this show would deliver what they were after.
“I’ve been to some competitions where I’ve seen other kids perform and heavier material is what is being done by students. I wanted to challenge them to something and I knew this was a challenging show not just because of the material, but because it’s all dialogue. They have to sit and talk the whole show,” he said.
The curtain opens on a courtroom where 12 jurors are gathered and have to determine the verdict in a trial. If they determine the defendant is guilty, it will result in the death penalty. As the show unfolds, personal issues come to the surface as they work together to determine the outcome.
Erika Salgado, a senior, has been in five productions over the course of her high school career. She said getting to be on stage and tell the story in a new way is what brings her back year after year. Desiree Pingol, another senior, said getting to delve deeper into the characters and discover who they are is what she enjoys most about this show.
Sarah Newman, a junior, agreed, saying there is not a lot of opportunity to work with heavier story lines but she feels it is a learning experience of its own to be able to learn the characters. She said by opening the show up to women, the story lines are able to be adjusted which allows for different ways of comprehending.
“It’s a great experience with humanity,” she said.
The cast feels ready to show the public and Pierson said he is too. He said the cast has worked hard and would encourage the community to spend a few hours with the cast by seeing the show this weekend.
“This is a show that everyone should find themselves in one of these jurors either in a good way or a bad way. That’s the appeal of this show. You can see them interact with each other, recognize people you know, recognize yourself maybe and experience them going through this,” he said. “It’s a big cathartic experience and a great show to watch. (There are) lots of moments of tension and really fantastic acting.”
“12 Angry Jurors” will be performed at the Washington Area Performing Arts Center on Friday, Nov. 15 and Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 2:30 p.m.