This year the AACS Upper School drama department produced 12 Angry Men, under the direction of Nick Cherone, as their fall play. 12 Angry Men, written by Reginald Rose, tells the story of how 12 jurors decide the verdict of an accused murder. The 12 jurors are all unique people and their differences in demeanor and ideals often lead to heated arguments. This play is different than anything the drama department has put on before. Two things in particular set this performance apart.
During the performance, the audience was not seated in the standard Kerr Auditorium seats. Instead, risers were placed on the stage. These seats surrounded the set. Nick Cherone said he chose to set the stage up this way because, “The Kerr Center is such a cavernous space, and this is a play about twelve people locked in a small, hot, stuffy room. I wanted to create a sense of intensity and claustrophobia for this production. By having the audience on stage, we were able to shrink the performance space and get everyone packed in close. I want everyone at the show to feel like they’ve been locked into the room with the jurors.” Being on the stage with the actors drew the audience into the story. All those people in that small space allowed for Mr. Cherone’s desired sense of intensity in the room.
Two different casts produced the play, labeled the Blue and Gold casts. This meant that two different actors were assigned to many of the roles. Each cast performed the play three times. “I chose to cast the show this way because I had a lot of capable performers,” said Nick Cherone, “I felt they all had something important to contribute to the production.” Two casts meant twice the number of rehearsals and a lot of repetition. Mr. Cherone said that though it was difficult rehearsing with two different sets of actors, he would consider doing it again if it was the right thing for his students.
A lot of work goes into producing a play and 12 Angry Men was no exception. The actors rehearse for two hours many days after school during the two months before the show, and then have lengthy rehearsals the week prior to opening night. In addition to rehearsals, the sets have to be built, props and costumes have to be collected, and blocking has to be finalized. All of this is in preparation for the performance. However, in the words of Nick Cherone, “All of the time and effort is definitely worth it, because when we create theatre, we get to bear out the Image of God, who is the ultimate Creator!”
Written By AACS Student: Savannah Munholland