A 19-year-old man has just stood trial for the fatal stabbing of his father. "He doesn't stand a chance," mutters the guard as the 12 jurors are taken into the bleak jury room. It looks like an open-and-shut case - until one of the jurors begins opening the others' eyes to the facts.
“12 Angry Men” is a play by Reginald Rose adapted from his 1954 teleplay of the same title. A 1957 feature film adaptation, produced and written by Rose himself, was directed by Sidney Lummet and received 3 Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture. It was first staged in a 1964 London production and then many years later on Broadway. It was revived on Broadway in 2004 then the West End in 2013. The Broadway revival in 2004 received 3 Tony Award nominations and it won a Drama Desk Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award and the Drama League Award for Outstanding Revival of a play. There was also a hugely successful Australian production that toured to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and it won 3 Melbourne Green Room Awards and a nomination for Best Play at the Helpmann Awards. Some of the cast included Shane Bourne, Peter Phelps, Marcus Graham and Henri Szeps.
The drama depicts a jury forced to consider a homicide trial. A young delinquent is on trial for the murder of his aggressive father. The judge has directed the jury to find the boy guilty if there is no reasonable doubt. They have also been instructed that a guilty verdict will be accompanied by a mandatory death sentence. At the beginning, eleven of the jurors declare there is no reasonable doubt, but one of them, while far from convinced of the boy's innocence, feels that some of the evidence against him has been ambiguous. This starts a series of intense discussions between the jurors that reveals their personalities and their reasons for discriminating against the defendant such as his race, background and the troubled relationship between juror and his own son. It is the one dissenter's job to try and gradually win over the other jurors to a unanimous not-guilty verdict.
So, does the jury come to a unanimous verdict? You need to come and see this gripping play to find out. Even though the play is set in 1954 it is still just as relevant today as the role of the jury hasn't changed – they are to ensure that justice is done.
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