The Goshen Players close out 2014 in style with a staged reading of the high stakes drama 12 ANGRY JURORS. Twelve ordinary citizens lock wits in a locked room as the fate of a young man hangs in the balance.
Starring an all star ensemble cast featuring Payton Turpin as the thoughtful Juror 8, Wes Baldwin as the belligerent Juror 3 and Jodi Baldwin as the highly educated Juror 4, each member of the cast plays an important role as we learn more about the trial and a murder that had been committed. Sparks fly when Turpin and Wes Baldwin try to find ways of communicating with each other without turning to violence. Turpin is rock solid in his portrayal of Juror 8, holding that moral compass to which we would all aspire. Wes Baldwin brings the heat, willing to use his imposing presence to impose his will on the persuadable jurors. Jodi Baldwin’s calm and reasoned approach sets her character above the emotional musings of others at the table.
There are new emerging artists in the world of theater for this production. Dan Greenlaw portrays Juror 9, an elderly gentleman with empathy for one of the witnesses during the trial. Greenlaw’s Juror 9 brings an emotional dimension to the table, taking complex motivations and distilling them through thoughtful admissions in a clear way so that the audience can understand a key element to the story. Singer Songwriter Robert C Fullteron portrays Juror 11, a seasoned émigré from Europe with a unique perspective on American Justice. Fullerton’s Juror 11 enjoys many of the colorful and comedic lines and delivers each one like the character had just thought of them off the top of his head. Both actors are creating their first roles for the stage with this production and if these performances are any indication, it won’t be their last!
Veteran performers Matthew Vella and Heather Kelly portray Jurors 2 and 7. Vella’s Juror 2 is a pleasant quiet fellow who just might be out of his depth in the room while Kelly’s Juror 7 is a hardened woman with opinions she doesn’t mind sharing. Vella’s comical “timing” is important in more ways than one in this production. Kelly’s Juror 7 is forceful-the audience will know where she stands and why! Another husband and wife team, Matthew Sweet and Laurie Sweet, portray Jurors 5 and 6. Matthew Sweet’s Juror 5 comes from the rough side of the tracks and is willing to fight when backed into a corner. Laurie Sweet’s Juror 6 is persuadable if she gets the information she seeks. Both actors give their characters lives with a history but without prejudice on the case at hand, each willing to change their minds when presented with facts.
Scott Stanchfield and Tyson Chamberlin provide unique characters to the ensemble. Stanchield’s Juror 10 is a bigot of unimaginable indignity, a difficult role that Stanchfield pulls off with expert aplomb. It is a testament to the caliber of Stanchfield’s acting that makes Juror 10 at times comical and then at times painful and at all times necessary to watch on stage. Tyson Chamberlin’s Juror 12 is an ad executive whose boardroom banter sometimes is at odds with the seriousness of the deliberations. Chamberin’s juror 12 is a go-getter who sometimes has good ideas to bring to the table and sometimes his ideas fall flat. J. Timothy Quirk portrays the foreman whose love of order and duty is no match for a jury discourse run amok. Since I’m writing this item, I’ll leave it to others to describe the performance.
Goshen’s own first selectman Robert Valentine portrays the role of the Judge in the crucial opening sequence. Valentine embodies the role well and as he instructs the jury on the seriousness of the charge, the audience will feel the full gravity of the decision awaiting the jury in their jury room. Naomi Cardello portrays the guard charged with the task of keeping the jurors in their room until a decision has been reached. She participates in key scenes when evidence needs to be examined again and provides the entrance and the closure to the work.
Directed by Conrad Sienkiewicz, this story of courage, justice and communication could not come at a more opportune time. He hopes “the audience will see that unity is possible within a diverse setting. It seems that we are so polarized today, and real communication about our differences – and our different opinions – seems to get reduced to name-calling and head shaking. The art of communication seems to be dying, despite the increase in our means of communication. This diverse jury sat together – in an uncomfortable environment – and spoke openly and honestly…” What happens next? Go to the play and find out for yourself!
Jandi Hanna produces this production on behalf of the Goshen Players there at the former Town Hall in Goshen (at the rotary at Routes 4 and 63). Hanna’s work kept the mechanism of the production in order, ensuring that the director could focus on the creation of the performances. Kay Jones provides the technical assistance to the show especially the lighting.
This show will be treat to enjoy this weekend before Thanksgiving and at only 10 dollars a ticket, it’s entertainment that’s 1) economical and 2) worth seeing and enjoying ! There’s cabaret seating so bring a snack or beverage item and enjoy a live performance that could only be brought to you care of the Goshen Players in the old Town Hall.