Make us your home page
Instagram

Stage West opens season with look inside a jury room in 'Twelve Angry Men'

From left sitting, Thomas Garton as Juror No. 5, Chris Hubner as Juror No. 6, Jay Ingle as Juror No. 7 and Sam Petricone as Juror No. 8 listen while Dennis Duggan, standing as Juror No. 3, gets emotional during rehearsal for Twelve Angry Men, which is being presented at Stage West Community Playhouse.

Courtesy of Carol Ballard

From left sitting, Thomas Garton as Juror No. 5, Chris Hubner as Juror No. 6, Jay Ingle as Juror No. 7 and Sam Petricone as Juror No. 8 listen while Dennis Duggan, standing as Juror No. 3, gets emotional during rehearsal for Twelve Angry Men, which is being presented at Stage West Community Playhouse.

SPRING HILL

It's been awhile since Americans have been glued to their television sets watching nail-biting courtroom trials like that of, say, O.J. Simpson, Ted Bundy or Casey Anthony.

Even so, fascination with the inner workings of a trial — the accused, the witnesses, the judge, the jury — remains steady, which may account for the devoted fans of Twelve Angry Men, the 1954 teleplay set inside a jury deliberation room.

Playwright Reginald Rose's fictional telling was made into a movie in 1957 and a television movie again in 1997 and hit Broadway in 2004. Since then, it's become an amateur and professional theater favorite, sometimes done as Twelve Angry Jurors with both men and women in the jury room.

Stage West Community Playhouse will present the all-male version Sept. 15 to 18 and 23 to 25 in the intimate Forum theater. Directed by multi-HAMI winner Paul Wade, who himself has performed a lead role in an earlier production of the play in Pasco County, it features nine HAMI winners, the winner of Creative Loafing's Best of the Bay Best Actor award, two actors who have performed in the play elsewhere, and a theater newcomer who plays the jury room guard (Patrick Caropeppe).

In the play, a 19-year-old man, who is never seen, has been accused of murdering his father. It looks like an easy conviction. After all, several reliable witnesses have come forward, including a woman who claims to have watched the murder with her own eyes.

Another says he himself sold the murder weapon to the young man. And, perhaps most convincing, the accused has a criminal record and was known to have had shouting matches with his father.

Indeed, this should be a quick, easy decision for the 12 jurors.

Except that Juror No. 8 (Sam Petricone, HAMI as Ali Hakim in Oklahoma!) has a reasonable doubt. Nothing solid, just a feeling that a rush to judgment doesn't feel right to him.

Thus begins a long night of anger, quarrels, arguments and examinations of the personal conflicts and motives of the 12 men holding the life — a guilty verdict will mean the electric chair — of the 19-year-old in their hands.

Juror No. 8 doesn't find receptive ears to his doubts. The most vicious is Juror No. 10 (Pete Clapsis, HAMI as Pseudolus in Funny/Forum), a loudmouthed bigot spoiling for a fight. And there's Juror No. 3 (Dennis Duggan, Creative Loafing's Best Actor), the most cynical and vocal of the men, resolutely convinced of the defendant's guilt and not willing to budge an inch.

In between these extremes are Juror No. 1 (Mark Dunham), a serious, non-confrontational man who is quickly elected to be foreman of the jury; Juror No. 5 (Thomas Garton), who doesn't want to express an opinion either way; Juror No. 2 (David Stenger, HAMI as Moonfaced in Anything Goes), so timid he will just go along with the crowd; Juror No. 11 (Dalton Benson, HAMI as Edna in Hairspray), a refugee from Europe who has been the victim of injustice and doesn't want to perpetuate another by convicting an innocent man or releasing a guilty one; Juror No. 9 (Maurice Batista, HAMI as Judge in Harvey), a mild, gentle man who is horrified by Juror No. 10's open bigotry; Juror No. 6 (Chris Huber, HAMI as the Rev. Lee in The Foreigner), who is reluctant to see the good in anyone; Juror No. 12 (Bill Dimmitt, HAMI as Alfred Doolittle in My Fair Lady), an arrogant, impatient advertising executive who just wants to vote, get it over with and go back to his business and social life; Juror No. 4 (Sam McCall, HAMI as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird), an articulate, logical stockbroker who needs to be thoroughly convinced before he makes each decision; and Juror No. 7 (Jay Ingle, HAMI as Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), who just wants to get it over with so he won't be late to his baseball game.

It's an intriguing look at what might go on behind the closed doors of a jury room. The dialogue is intense, most suited for ages 13 and older.

>>fast facts

'Twelve Angry Men'

Twelve Angry Men, a drama, at the Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse, 8390 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill, Sept. 15 to 18 and 23 to 25. Shows are at 7:30 p.m., except Sundays and the second Saturday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20, reserved seating. Call (352) 683-5113.

Stage West opens season with look inside a jury room in 'Twelve Angry Men' 09/07/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 7, 2016 6:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Directors of Haunted Mansion doc talk bringing piece of Disney history to Orlando

    Blogs

    Filmmakers Ryan Grulich and James H. Carter II aren't just casual fans of The Haunted Mansion ride. They're obsessed.

    Publicity still from the Foolish Mortals documentary.
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sept. 20

    Events

    Mumford and Sons: The enormously popular English rockers make their first stop in Tampa. 7:30 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $41.25-$61.25. (813) 301-2500.

    MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 13:  Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons performs on the "What" stage during the 2015 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 13, 2015 in Manchester, Tennessee.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
  3. How to vamp out for Buffyfest in St. Petersburg

    Music & Concerts

    Who's your favorite superhero? I always answer Buffy.

    Photo illustration RON BORRESEN, Photo by Warner Brothers, Photo by SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
Members of the Florida Bjorkestra rehearse, Monday, 3/13/17, at the Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg for their upcoming concert. In the foreground is percussionist Joe Coyle.

Sarah Michelle Gellar
  4. The Mill restaurants offering half off when customers donate items for hurricane relief

    Blogs

    The Mill restaurant in St. Petersburg and its newly-opened location in Brandon are collecting donations to help residents of the Florida Keys who've been affected by Hurricane Irma.

    The dining room at The Mill in St. Petersburg photographed in 2015.
  5. Key performances and a sizzling script elevate Heather Theatre's 'Disgraced'

    Stage

    TAMPA — When you step into the world of Disgraced, Ayad Akhtar's taut drama centered on two couples at a Manhattan dinner party, you never feel secure about where you sit. No one really can.

    The cast of Disgraced, Ayah Akhtar's Pulitzer-winning play at the Heather Theatre, includes (from left) Peter Alexander Kostis, Lynn Single, Shrey Neil, and Krystal Nicole Watts. Photo courtesy of the Heather.