|Written by Reginald Rose|
Original language English
Playwright Reginald Rose
|Place premiered The juror's room|
First performance 1964
|Subject A courthouse drama: a boy's life at stake in the hands of the jury|
Setting 1954, late summer in a court jury room
Characters Juror #8, Juror #3, Juror #10, Juror #7, Juror #4
Similar Sophocles - the Theban Plays: Kin, The Lady In The Van, The Importance of Being, A Streetcar Named Desire, Death of a Salesman
Twelve Angry Men is a play by Reginald Rose adapted from his 1954 teleplay of the same title for the CBS Studio One anthology television series. Staged in a 1964 London production, the Broadway debut came 50 years after CBS aired the play, on October 28, 2004, by the Roundabout Theatre Company at the American Airlines Theatre, where it ran for 328 performances.
Characters and story
The drama depicts a jury forced to consider a homicide trial. At the beginning, they have a nearly unanimous decision of guilty, with a single dissenter of not-guilty, who throughout the play sows a seed of reasonable doubt. The story begins after closing arguments have been presented in the homicide case, as the judge is giving his instructions to the jury. As in most American criminal cases, the twelve men must unanimously decide on a verdict of "guilty" or "not guilty". (In the justice systems of nearly all American states, failure to reach a unanimous verdict, a so-called "hung jury", results in a mistrial.) The case at hand pertains to whether a young man murdered his own father. The jury is further instructed that a guilty verdict will be accompanied by a mandatory death sentence. These twelve then move to the jury room, where they begin to become acquainted with the personalities of their peers. Throughout their deliberation, not a single juror calls another by his name because the names are unknown to the jurors. Several of the jurors have different reasons for discriminating against the defendant: his race, his background, and the troubled relationship between one juror and his own son.
Rose wrote several stage adaptations of the story. In 1964, Leo Genn appeared in the play on the London stage, directed by Margaret Webster. In other theatrical adaptations in which female actors are cast the play is often retitled 12 Angry Jurors.
Harold Pinter directed a production of the play, which opened at the Bristol Old Vic on March 7, 1996. With set design by Eileen Diss, lighting design by Mick Hughes, and costume design by Tom Rand, its cast included Stuart Rayner (Juror 1, Foreman), Kevin Dignam (Juror 2), Tony Haygarth (Juror 3), Timothy West (Juror 4), Maurice Kaufmann (Juror 5), Douglas McFerran (Juror 6), Tim Healy (Juror 7), Kevin Whately (Juror 8), Alan MacNaughtan (Juror 9), Peter Vaughan (Juror 10), Robert East (Juror 11), Christopher Simon (Juror 12), Joshua Losey (Guard), and E. G. Marshall, as the Voice of the Judge.
The Roundabout Theatre Company presented a Broadway production of the play, starring Boyd Gaines as a more combative Juror 8, with James Rebhorn (Juror 4), Philip Bosco (Juror 3), and Robert Prosky as the Voice of the Judge.
In 2007, L.A. Theatre Works presented a production of the play that was recorded as an audiobook; directed by John de Lancie, the cast included Dan Castellaneta, Jeffrey Donovan, Hector Elizondo, Robert Foxworth, James Gleason, Kevin Kilner, Richard Kind, Alan Mandell, Rob Nagle, Armin Shimerman, Joe Spano, and Steve Vinovich.
The London West End production opened in November 2013 (running until 1 March 2014) at the Garrick Theatre. Directed by Christopher Haydon, the cast included Martin Shaw, Robert Vaughn, Jeff Fahey, Nick Moran, Robert Blythe, Miles Richardson and Martin Turner.
In 2014, Independent Theatre Pakistan performed an adaptation of this play at Alhamra Arts Council, Lahore, directed by Azeem Hamid.
Sweeney and Voskovec repeated their parts in the 1957 film.