WHS cast stages ‘12 Angry Jurors’

Published 8:49 pm Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Staff Writer

Justice will be served.
The Washington High School Playmakers will present “12 Angry Jurors” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15 and Oct. 16 at the WHS Performing Arts Center on the WHS campus.
Tickets cost $5 a person, and they may be obtained at the door or from any member of the cast.
This familiar drama by Sherman L. Sergel, based on a teleplay by Reginald Rose, features 14 WHS actors — 12 jurors, a bailiff and the offstage voice of a court clerk.
In the play, the jurors deliberate the fate of a young man accused of murder, and their life-or-death decision-making leads to fiery exchanges and soul-searching as the action unfolds.
The players have gone “off books,” meaning they’re no longer allowed to use their scripts in rehearsal, said director Travis Carter.
“They’ve got to listen to one another,” Carter said.
Having missed three rehearsals last week because of extensive flooding in the area, the students were working to catch up Monday night.
Some of the cast members speak a line or two and aren’t called on again through five or six pages in the script, Carter related.
“We have a nice mixture of kids in this cast,” he said, adding the actors range from freshmen to seniors. “The hard part about this is they’ve got to stay in character the whole time, whether they’re talking or not, and they never leave the stage.”
Addie Van Salisbury plays Juror No. 8, the role taken on by Henry Fonda in the 1957 film “12 Angry Men.”
In the WHS version of the play, Van Salisbury spars with Raven Simpson, who portrays Juror No. 3, the part played by Lee J. Cobb in the film.
“I try to portray her as compassionate, but, once she realizes she needs to get her point across, really forceful,” said Van Salisbury.
Asked what career she’d like to pursue after graduation, the sophomore smiled, looked down at her shoes and replied, “I always wanted to be a Broadway actress. … Or a historian.”
Back on the stage, the cast was all business as it concentrated on memorization and “characterization,” the art of fleshing out characters — making them real to the actors and the audience.
The actors are aided in this task by Vicky Respass, an East Carolina University theater student who graduated from WHS in 2009. Respass is credited as the character coach.
“I basically just sit here and watch each character,” she said. “They have the potential to be really good.”
In addition to Van Salisbury and Simpson, “12 Angry Jurors” stars Jayquez Minor-Jones as the bailiff, Noelle Gargero as the offstage clerk’s voice, Elizabeth Nuckols as the foreman, Lauren Williams as Juror No. 2, Megan White as Juror No. 4, Dylan Willoughby as Juror No. 5, Ian “Allie” Evans as Juror No. 6, Lexus Crandle as Juror No. 7, Amber Jarman as Juror No. 9, Erin Stowe as Juror No. 10, Tessa Abbate as Juror No. 11 and Daniel May as Juror No. 12.
Gargero also serves as stage manager.
The Playmakers is a school-centered troupe that raises money for its productions through ticket sales, explained Carter, who is the WHS drama teacher.