Hightstown High School drama club will present Reginald Roses's “12 Angry Jurors” Friday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 17 at 2 and 7 p.m. in the High School auditorium.
According to Director Catherine E. Anzuini, the cast worked hard to overcome several obstacles this season, and the resulting performance will not be one to miss.
“We are all excited about opening night and hope the community comes out to support us,” Anzuini said.
“12 Angry Jurors” was adapted from Reginald Rose’s 1954 television show “12 Angry Men,” in which a jury comprised of 12 men must decide the fate of a youth accused of murdering his father. This adaptation includes a few minor changes to the script to accommodate for the inclusion of females in the cast, Anzuini said.
The cast consists of seven male and six female students, who auditioned by memorizing a monologue from the play and then reading parts of the scripts together to see how voices complemented each other.
Since the play is set entirely in a run-down jury room, the drama club uses three walls that move closer together as the intensity and conflict amongst the jury builds.
Anzuini said she chose “12 Angry Jurors” this year so her drama students could experience a broad spectrum of drama productions.
Since the play is an ensemble production in which no cast member ever leaves the stage, she said it requires a different approach to acting and demands a particular focus on characterizations.
According to Anzuini, another challenge for the cast is the lack of stage movements to help with line memorization and characterizations.
“They spend most of their time sitting at a table, which is very challenging and limiting,” she said.
The cast reportedly worked hard to find ways to express themselves through facial and upper body movements and vocal fluctuations.
Rehearsals for “12 Angry Jurors” began at the end of September, and students met three to four days a week for 1 1/2 hour to 2 hours at a time. However, due to Hurricane Sandy, the drama club lost six rehearsals, totaling 14 hours of rehearsal time.
On top of this, Anzuini said the cast had just memorized their lines before going a week without rehearsing. To make up for the lost time, the drama club rehearsed for nine straight days for a total of 29 hours.
The super-storm also hindered the drama club’s ability to publicize the show. According to Anzuini, at the time the show’s signs and posters were to go up, the area was hit by Hurricane Sandy and a Nor’Easter.
“These things never got displayed, so we have lost a major way of letting the community know about the show,” she said.
Despite the challenges along the way, however, Anzuini believes the drama club worked earnestly to bring the production up to performance level.
“I am very pleased with the overall production, and especially the cast and their ability to stay in character for two hours while sitting behind a table,” she said.
Tickets will be sold at the door and cost $7 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students.