The Niles West Theatre production of “12 Angry Jurors” was about, you guessed it, 12 angry Jurors. All of the Jurors are locked in a room with 12 chairs, 12 pads of paper, 12 pencils and a fridge fully stocked with water bottles. The only way to be let out of the room is to come to an agreement of guilty or not guilty.
The story goes like this — a 19-year-old boy allegedly screams, “I’m going to kill you,” to his father and stabs him in the chest with a knife. He then runs away from the crime scene and doesn’t provide a good alibi to the police. The jurors discuss every possibility of how this could and couldn’t be true.
My favorite part of the production was the slamming of hands down on the table, done best by Meghan Eslick in my opinion. Eslick, or Juror 3, was by far the angriest juror. When anyone defied her opinion, she would scream at the top of her lungs and stand up, causing her chair to flip over, and at one point she even picked up a switch knife on the table and pretended to stab people with it.
“My favorite part about the show would probably be becoming so close with the other actors and having such a fun and loving family to enjoy these intense shows with,” Eslick said.
For Juror 7, Simon Solano, the best part of the show was getting to make friends with all the new members of theatre — especially those whom he hadn’t had the chance to bond with online. “Tech week with new people was an experience we hadn’t had in a while, and it was so nice to get back and experience that as an upperclassman and a mentor for new members,” Solano said. “My favorite line is probably the rant where I scream, ‘She could write for Amazing Detective Monthly!’ in reference to Juror 8. It’s a line I love because, every time I am screaming at my fellow jurors, I have to try so hard to stop myself from cracking up.”
It is mentioned several times throughout the production how hot it is, and that there is no air conditioning in the room. Traditionally in literature, bad things happen on hot days. Take Romeo and Juliet for example, it is on a blessed hot day that stirs the blood of the Capulets and where Mercutio is killed.
To hear the Jurors complain of the heat gave me a feeling that the decision of guilty or not guilty would not come easily, and I’ll leave you to find out if that feeling was correct, but I’m sure you can take a pretty good guess.
Outside of jury duty, the actors may have a close bond, but in the jury room, the only bonds are between those agreeing of guilty or not guilty. Throughout the production, Jurors bonded over tough childhoods, lonely adulthood and many other prevalent and relatable problems.
Overall, I really enjoyed the performance and plot of “12 Angry Jurors,” and I look forward to what Niles West Theatre has to offer in the future!