In "12 Angry Men" at the Lincoln Community Playhouse, an all-male cast delivers a compelling drama that details a jury's deliberations fueled by tension, anger, disagreement, prejudice and passion.
This 90-minute production, skillfully directed by Mary Douglass, revives a classic story dating from the 1950s based on a teleplay by Reginald Rose. Some will recall the star-studded 1957 film adaptation, but my guess is that many in Lincoln will be enjoying this riveting story for the first time, just as I did.
Not knowing the jury's final decision did make the play's frequent twists and turns that much more suspenseful.
Douglass' talents as a director are showcased in this piece as the action swirls continuously around the massive wooden table set for the jury's deliberations. A young man has been accused of murder, and although the members of the jury hold his life in their hands, some find the evidence more convincing than others.
The play delivers a clever lesson in how factors from outside the courtroom might color a juror's perception regarding reasonable doubt.
The sold-out audience of 170 was seated on two sides of the action. The close proximity to the stage provided an intimate, if not claustrophobic, theatrical experience. After all, we are locked in the room until they deliver a unanimous verdict.
Of the 13 men in the cast, 12 never leave the stage.
This is truly an ensemble effort, with strong acting throughout the cast, but I would be remiss if I didn't single out Scott Glen's exceptional performance as Juror Number 3. Glen has been a bright light on the playhouse stage for a long time, but this performance is incandescent.
The verdict is in: "12 Angry Men" is guilty of powerful drama.