Sunday, May 12, 2013

12 Angry Jurors by Backstage

One of the highlights of this weekend was the Backstage theater group production "12 Angry Jurors", a mixed-gender version of Reginald Rose's 12 Angry Men. Set in the 50s, it's a story of how the dissent of a single juror against an otherwise seemingly cut-and-dried guilty verdict in a homicide case completely turns the verdict around. Directed by Rashmi Kotriwala with assistance from Aswathi Menon, the play was staged over three weekend evenings, with two matinees, at Kilachand Theatre in DUCTAC.

Foreman, and Jurors 2 through 4

Jurors 5 through 8

Jurors 9 through 12

I had not seen the movie, although I was acquainted with a brief synopsis. Therefore, at least for me, it was a gripping experience to watch how each juror was convinced to join the camp opposing the guilty verdict. The characters' own backgrounds and experiences are dragged into the deliberation room, as one flaw after another is found in case against the young man accused of killing his father. The climaxes of both halves was done well, thanks in particular to experienced actor Bryan Mackenzie's fiery portrayal of Juror 3. Relative newcomer Teresa Lundgren played the role of the empathetic Juror 8 pretty well too.

Some other especially strong performances were those of Saad Siddiqi as the composed and logical Juror 4, Arjun Burman as the frustrated foreman, and Alejandro Celli Diaz as the principled immigrant Juror 11. I was also generally pleased with the performance of Juror 5 actor Vanshi Kotru, who, by the way, made her acting debut as the female lead of my own directorial debut back in February. Altogether, the cast of 13 did a great job of it, especially considering that 10 of them had, till then, either acted in short plays or not at all. For a play in which all but one of the cast had to be on stage at all times, doing something or the other, this was impressive.

The directorial efforts of Kotriwala and Menon deserve praise; it's not easy when you have 12 people to monitor at all times, and a lot of dialogue to arrange. Production-wise, I think the 50s setting was done well, except the platform shoes of Juror 6 and the overall somewhat modern appearance of Juror 8. The women otherwise had decade-appropriate skirts and blouses, and the men looked the part as far as the cursory perception of the decade would go.

This was a great end to the 2012-2013 season for Backstage, and I look forward to the next season.


Another, much more detailed review:


  1. Like your blog. I have linked your review at the end of my review of the same. Penny Mackenzie.

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