EPHRAIM—A Snow College Theatre production of 12 Angry Jurors takes on controversial topics with an update on a classic play.
Directed by Andrew Nogasky, 12 Angry Jurors is an updated version of 12 Angry Men, which was written by Reginald Rose in 1954 after he served jury duty and realized it made for good playwriting material.
The play is based on the trial of a 19-year old man for the alleged murder of his father, and a guilty verdict that was expected to be reached quickly—until one juror begins to open the eyes of the others, forcing them to question their bias and quick judgment.
“It’s decades old,” Nogoasky says. “Still so relevant. Because we haven’t learned. It can be painful to realize we still need to learn the same lessons against bigotry, nationalism, apathy, misplaced rage and miscarried justice. Easier to think those are battles won; parts of the frozen past; icebergs of history. But the words of this play, spoken today, say otherwise. It’s not in the cool and distant past. It’s now. And it’s boiling.”
This version of the play has been updated from its original 1950s version to fit in the modern-day atmosphere with different populations and references suited for 2021, a choice Nogasky says may not be popular with some, but was an important component of the Snow production.
“You may disagree with those adjustments,” he says. “I respect that. If so, Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, and the work of Sydney Lumet are ready and waiting. But for me, this play isn’t meant for the museum. We need it now. We need to hear it again. For today.”
He adds, “We need to learn again, so decades from now when it’s dusted off once more, it won’t be as relevant. When faces will shift in more curious expressions by its words. When, hopefully, this play’s lessons are more an artifact of history than today’s news.”
The play runs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6 through Saturday, Oct. 9.