It's hard to
believe as I write this that we are about two weeks from opening ANTIC's "12 Angry Jurors."
To review, on a mission to try something a bit different, I decided to audition for this show over the summer. While I have a bit of a theater and music background, this is the first time I've been on stage in 11 years, and "12 Angry Jurors" (basically "12 Angry Men" with both men and women) is only the second time I have ever participated in a nonmusical.
My experience with "12 Angry Jurors," where I've been cast as the bailiff and an understudy, has deepened my appreciation for the challenges of staging a nonmusical. Don't get me wrong: musicals have their own challenges. There's music to memorize, most musicals have dance numbers, or at least a lot of movement, and there's the whole aspect of transitioning from dialogue to a song, and making it look easy and believable. But these are challenges I'm familiar with.
When it comes to memorizing lines for a show, I think of the dialogue and scenes in terms of "bookmarks." I need to remember that a certain block of dialogue occurs before (or after) this song, during this scene, for example. Musicals have a lot of these "bookmarks" which makes memorization easier (at least for me). With nonmusicals, especially with a show such as "12 Angry Jurors," you have to be a lot more creative when creating those mental bookmarks. Even as an audience member, I've observed that nonmusical generally don't have as many scene breaks, and often don't have any set changes, or only one or two. "12 Angry Jurors" is a show that takes place in one room, and the 12 cast as the jurors are on stage almost the entire time. There's one break between Act I and Act 2. In addition, many key points keep returning as the 12 jurors argue about the murder case involving a young man accused of murdering his father. It's tricky keeping track of what blocks of dialogue happen where, particularly when the jurors discuss the three key issues: the knife used, the old man who heard the crime, and the woman who saw the crime. Indeed, a lot of the dialogue is, to borrow a musical term, "theme and variations" on those three issues.
The fun part is developing each of our characters, taking hints from the script and filling in the blanks ourselves. This is truly an ensemble piece, and everyone in the cast has worked together well -- helping with character development, blocking, costume ideas and just overall support. It's been wonderful to work in this team.
Speaking of the cast, now would be a good chance to mention my castmates: Linda Knight is the Foreman, Karen Sauerbrey is Juror 2, Larry McWilliams is Juror 3, Lynn A. Brown is Juror 4, James Hock is Juror 5, Brandon Lucas is Juror 6, Kristina Lee is Juror 7, Matt Smith is Juror 8, Peter Handley is Juror 9, Ryan M. Dyke is Juror 10, Ben Hammer is Juror 11, and both Molly Ann and Shari Schneider are playing Juror 12 (on different nights). Leading this crew is Mark Brown, who makes his directorial debut with this show.
Ticket and Show information
"12 Angry Jurors" can be seen Nov. 8, 9 and 16 at 8 p.m., and Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. (earlier, the time was going to be at 3 p.m., but the time was changed to 2 p.m.).
Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and $6 for seniors and children under 12. Parents should be aware there is some strong language in this show.
Quirk Cultural Center is at 1201 Grant Ave. in Cuyahoga Falls. For details, visit www.antictheatre.org.