Twelve Angry Men

Twelve Angry Men

Twelve Angry Men
By Reginald Rose
Directed by Stephen Jones
Mad Cow Theatre, Orlando Fl

Bismarck once almost remarked “Only men with strong stomachs should watch justice or sausage being made.” The process behind justice is delegated to the common citizen and while high paid specialists argue the law, those who finally decide justice are much less focused. In this hot, sweaty jury room, a dozen men wrestle with a possible fratricide by a 16 year old boy. It seems pretty open and shut; motive, means and opportunity exists, there are witnesses and evidence, and more importantly all these men all wish they were somewhere else, preferably air-conditioned. Only Juror #8 (T. Robby Pigott) has qualms. While he is reasonably sure of the guilt, it’s not beyond a reasonable doubt. The argument he starts is loud and raucous, and nearly drives the cast to blows several times. Is justice done? No one knows, but the process was served and that’s all you can hope for some days.

This is a guy show if ever there was one. The all male cast covers the full section of society: Juror #12 (David Shipman) is a fatuous ad man, Juror #9 (Terry Olson) limps alone in his twilight years, Juror #5(John Bateman) carries a double burden: he’s from the slums and cheers for Milwaukee. Juror # 7 (Josh Geohagen) helpfully intones: “That’s like getting hit in the head twice a day” as two baseball tickets melt away in his pocket. Once the seed of doubt it sown, the individual experience of these men helps convince more to waver. The hold outs are Juror #10 (Joe Reed) who believes that by yelling louder he becomes more correct, and Juror #3 (Philip Nolen) tries to recover his own lost son by convicting the boy in the dock. Does any of this make sense? No, but after this emotional give and take, there’s nothing left to say, and the deliberation ends.

Are all jury room this dramatic? Probably not, but you hope they are when your called to decide if some poor schmuck was really drunk. The only technical issue I have with this play is the room was cold; we should have had to sweat with the cast to get the full effect. Beyond that, the cast was brilliant, the timing tight, and the emotion raw. This is a great way for Mad Cow to end its run on South Magnolia, let’s hope they keep up the good work in their new home.

For more information on Mad Cow, please visit http://www.madcowtheatre.com

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