Northland News

Twelve Angry Women, Jurors

CAHS staging two versions of courtroom drama

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Yusuph Mkangara, back, as Juror 8, Joe Allwein as Juror 11, Winnona Maddrey as Juror 12 and Sermontee Brown, as Juror 1, rehearse for Columbus Alternative High School's production of "12 Angry Jurors," to be staged at 7 p.m. Nov. 2-3. They will also present "12 Angry Women" at 7 p.m. Nov. 1. Tickets cost $5.

Students at Columbus Alternative High School will perform alternative versions of a play that was initially a television drama that moved to the stage and then was made into an award-winning movie.

Twelve Angry Women, with an all-freshman, all-female cast, will be presented at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1, and Friday, Nov. 2.

Twelve Angry Jurors, with both male and female actors, will be staged at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3.

Tickets are $7 for general admission, $5 for students.

Columbus Alternative High School, which draws students from throughout the city, is located at 2632 McGuffey Road.

Cathy Cordy, theater teacher and director for the past 15 years with Columbus Alternative High School, said she initially wanted to put on Twelve Angry Women followed by Twelve Angry Men, the title playwright Reginald Rose gave to his television drama in 1954.

That didn't work out, Cordy said.

"I had more women than men," she said.

Twelve Angry Men, which Rose expanded from a 50-minute TV script into a stage play in 1955, was made into a movie in 1957 that starred Henry Fonda and was directed by Sidney Lumet.

Based on Rose's own experiences on jury duty in New York City, the story deals with a murder case in which one lone individual, identified only as Juror 8, holds out against the other 11, who want to quickly convict a young man of some unknown ethnic origin for stabbing his father to death. Slowly, though determination, strength of will and strength of character, the holdout wins over the others.

"It's about biases and prejudices and how they influence our lives," Cordy said last week. "You'd think in this day and age, we wouldn't have them, but they're there very strongly. I think it's a lesson for the kids how this affects the way we are and the way we think.

"Along the way, we've discussed the characters, especially with the women, because it's an all-freshman cast and they're young and naive," she added.

"I think it hits home. We've talked about the prejudices that are coming out and the biases that are coming out. They're kind of appalled by it. I think it just gives them time to sit back and think about it."

Curiously, Cordy said the version of the drama for an all-female cast isn't quite as graphic as the one for only men, particularly a scene in which the jurors attempt to recreate the grisly crime.

"I think everybody can take some thoughts from this," Cordy said.

Somewhat surprisingly, given the heavy nature of the material, Cordy said, directing the two casts and holding rehearsals has been fun.

"I am thoroughly enjoying this," she said. "I didn't think I would as much as I am."