“It’s always difficult to keep personal prejudice out of a thing like this. And wherever you run into it, prejudice always obscures the truth. I don’t really know what the truth is.” But I know I sure loved the play!
12 Angry Men premiered on April 23rd in the Main Building of the American University. Consistent with its title and theme, the play began at midnight – rather late for all the final-fevered AUBGers who were just beginning to raise their heads from the constant paper-writing. Nevertheless, the Auditorium was so tightly packed that many had to be turned back and the start was delayed, further increasing the tension. However, when the lights went down and the twelve suited-up clown-faced actors came out, every minor dissatisfaction was quickly forgotten. So I won’t act as “a self-appointed public avenger” and will write down a few lines of appreciation for this magnificent event.
Based on a 1957 motion picture classic and written by the famous American film writer Reginald Rose, 12 Angry Men tells the story of a jury, burdened with the fate of a young man who has been accused of murdering his own father. Although, at first, the jury members are all positive about condemning the boy to capital punishment, one of the members expresses his doubts about the prosecutor’s case and eventually wins all of the jury on his side, saving the young man’s life.
It was incredible to witness the carefully-planned, painstakingly realistic and emotionally touching action on the set. There weren’t just one or two or three actors interacting but all twelve were constantly on the set, impressing the audience with their unwavering professionalism!
Bisera Savovska, the producer and director of the play, shared her insider’s remarks on this challenging undertaking and how it was first conceived. “I watched [the movie] and I was impressed. I realized right then that the action is happening in one room, one location, which is a perfect basis to turn a movie scenario into a theater script. It took me two years to finalize the idea, because, to be honest, I was scared of working with twelve people at the same time, but I finally got the courage and did it.”
After most actors were picked through an auditioning process, the team and the organizers experienced some difficulties. “The biggest challenge was working with twelve people,” the director said, “when all of them need to be there and focused. Even though we had fixed rehearsals, people were missing, the ones who were present needed to read their lines and the tempo got lost often.” Nevertheless, Bisera describes the team as “amazing”. “They were fun to be around and work with, smart and talented, some of them a bit vain, some of them shy but during the process we all became good friends.”
Nina Brkuljan, who starred as one of the jury members, expressed her appreciation for the team effort: “It was really hard to coordinate with twelve different characters, different perceptions, different expectations.
There were moments when we were thinking that we will never succeed in making a good performance. It was hard, but it paid off. I adore all of them. After the lights went off and the play was done, I realized how much we connected during this project.”
After Scent of a Woman, Marriage, Прелести
Измены and several other plays, 12 Angry Men provides another blazing gold jewel in the crown of AUBG’s theatrical success this year. The level of professionalism and realism of this heart-touching performance made the study-weary audience stand up and clap as long and as hard as they could, in those last days of the Spring semester.
I myself left the auditorium with awe that a group of young amateurs can rival what is done on the big screen. And that can be stated without a reasonable doubt!
Photos by Yanita Mircheva
The quote from the 1957 movie 12 Angry Men is taken from the Internet Movie Database