Heritage Theater Delivers Killer Performance

Theater Puts on Twelve Angry Jurors.

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Maxie Eller, Newspaper Managing-Editor

The theater goes quiet as lights brighten to reveal a room of desks and 12 people enter. What follows is about 40 minutes of tense dialogue and a court case that is absolute murder for the jurors involved. Heritage’s Theater Department performed the one-act play “Twelve Angry Jurors” on the evening of Friday, March 5, and I believe that they killed it. 

The play follows twelve jurors assigned to a court case involving the murder of a man whose son is accused of the crime. As the jurors meet together to decide the fate of this young man, they run across a few complications. 11 of the jurors believe that the teenager in question is guilty while one believes that he is not guilty. Over the course of the play, this one juror, played by Audrey Painter (12), firmly defends her belief in the face of opposition, most notably a juror played by Matthew Anderson (12) whose stance is that the boy is guilty without question. Slowly, this one juror convinces the others one by one to join her side until it is once again a vote of eleven to one, but this time in her favor. 

While the performance was only about 40 minutes long, it was filled with action and dialogue. I could easily differentiate between the jurors and understand their distinct personalities without a long introduction to each character. The cast certainly played their individual parts well and each character felt like a whole person instead of a random face in the crowd. 

Painter and Anderson were a deadly combination in their acting skills as the main leaders of the play. Painter played her character, the lone juror in the beginning who voted not guilty, extremely well. Her calm and poised demeanor made her character’s case that much stronger and I very easily found myself taking her side. Anderson’s character, on the other hand, was the main advocate that the teenage boy was guilty. Anderson’s expressions and angry demeanor very clearly make his character’s point of view known and he fulfilled his role of the irritated antagonist perfectly. 

The set, while mostly just desks and chairs with pillars in the background, made the main focus the actors on stage and elevated their presence. As the audience, I felt very present during the debates and discussions which is something that is crucial when it comes to theater performances. 

“Twelve Angry Jurors” also delivers a great theme that can apply to a wide audience, myself included. Making sure to analyze all of the facts given before making a decision is something that everyone should do. Many of the jurors found themselves changing their minds after realizing that they were judging the others in the room and the defendant without listening to what they had to say. Not judging a book by its cover is a definite takeaway from the play. 

Overall, “Twelve Angry Jurors” was a phenomenal performance. I enjoyed the characters, the plot, and the experience as a whole. While the jury is still out on how Heritage Theater will top this performance, I will definitely be guilty of seeing their next production and look forward to what they will do next.