Tensions Run High in Barley Sheaf’s Twelve Angry Jurors by Doug Roberts
Exton, PA. The Barley Sheaf Players continue to celebrate their 50th season with the opening of their fall drama, Twelve Angry Jurors. For the five mainstage shows during their 50th season, Barley Sheaf has been bringing back one show that they have performed in each of the past five decades that they have been performing. Twelve Angry Jurors was originally performed at Barley Sheaf in 2002, and this revival is being directed by Wayne Grinwis, the husband Andrea Grinwis, who played Juror #5 in the original production. In addition, the director of the original production, Ron Blasdell, has a voiceover cameo in this new version as the judge.
Twelve Angry Jurors is a slightly modified version of the script for Twelve Angry Men (modified only for gender pronouns to reflect the cast of this production). The play takes place in the late 1950s, and opens with twelve jurors being led into a jury room with a daunting task: to come to a unanimous decision regarding the fate of a young man accused of murdering his father.
The entirety of the action of the play takes place in this jury room, where tensions rise and tempers flare as twelve people from distinctly different backgrounds argue fiercely as to how they should vote. What might seem to be an open-and-shut case in the beginning quickly turns to power struggles over evidence, race, and justice.
Though Twelve Angry Jurors takes place in the 1950s, the themes brought about by the jurors’ debates are all too relevant today. Arguments over race, immigration, and gender predominate the dialogue as personal biases and stereotypes are challenged. As this play is taking place almost 60 years ago, it forces us to question: How far have we really come as a society?
That is exactly the reason that director Wayne Grinwis and assistant director Lindsay Franklin chose this piece as part of Barley Sheaf’s 50th season. Though the clothes may seem unfamiliar, some of the statements made by the characters in this script feel all too relevant today. Director Grinwis added, “Along with the important themes, Twelve Angry Jurors is such a powerful, character driven story which creates an enriching experience for a director, actor, and audience member.”
Twelve Angry Jurors opens on October 20th and runs through November 4th. Shows run on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00pm, and for those who prefer an afternoon performance, there is one matinee on Sunday, October 29th at 2:00pm. This show would be most appealing for adults and children, ages 12 and up.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.barleysheaf.org, or can be reserved by calling the box office at 610-363-7075. All performances take place at the Barley Sheaf Players’ playhouse, located at 810 N. Whitford Rd in Lionville.