Salem Community Theater will present the court drama “Twelve Angry Men” for two weekends, beginning Friday.
Written by Reginald Rose, the play focuses on a jury deliberating the fate of a defendant. A verdict in most criminal trials by jury must be unanimous, and in the opening monologue, the judge informs the jury that since the defendant is charged with murdering his father, a guilty verdict will mean a mandatory death sentence.
The play then concentrates on the jury’s difficulty in reaching a unanimous verdict.
“Twelve Angry Men” is known as a case study in group dynamics, communications, social studies, government, and civic responsibility.
Originally broadcast as a television drama in 1954, the screenplay was produced by Henry Fonda in 1957 with a cast that included Lee J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, E.G. Marshall, Martin Balsam and Fonda. Each character’s role is integral to the process of reaching that unanimous decision.
Salem’s production is directed by Terri Wilkes. The jurors are played by Eric Kibler, Tim McGinley, Dave Wack, Tim Gottschling, Matt White, Mark Kholos, Rich Stelts, Gary Barringer, Richard Fawcett, Dave Hazen, Frank Martin and Dan Haueter. Jacob Nash plays the guard.
Sunday’s matinee will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the director and cast.