A 19-year-old boy has just stood trial for the fatal stabbing of his father. "He doesn't stand a chance," mutters the guard as the 12 jurors are taken into the bleak jury room. It looks like an open-and-shut case—until one of the jurors begins opening the others' eyes to the facts. "This is a remarkable thing about democracy," says the foreign-born juror, "that we are notified by mail to come down to this place—and decide on the guilt or innocence of a man, of a man we have not known before. We have nothing to gain or lose by our verdict. We should not make it a personal thing." But personal it does become, with each juror revealing his or her own character as the various testimonies are re-examined, the murder is re-enacted and a new murder threat is born before their own eyes! Tempers get short, arguments grow heated, and the jurors become twelve angry people. The jurors' final verdict and how they reach it—in tense scenes that will electrify your audience and keep them on the edge of their seats—add up to a fine, mature piece of dramatic literature, an experience you'll be proud to present.
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- Type of Show Full-length Play
- Product Code T43000
- Cast Size 15
- Min. Royalty Rate $100/perf
- Cost $10.95
- Approx. Run Time 70 min
- Target Audience High School | College and Adult
- Performing Group High School | College Theatre | Community Theatre | Professional Theatre | Touring Group
- Genre Drama
- ISBN(13) 9780871294012
- "We performed this for our UIL One-Act Competition and loved the ability it gave to be a real ensemble piece. The knives were thrust into a table instead of the "wall"--the UIL unit set cannot be damaged and I did not want to run the risk of them falling out/down if we created a different set piece. We were able to do this by using a table with a leaf, cutting out a small portion and using floral foam that was sized down--it was replaced two times. We also used chair pads to elevate the jurors who were upstage of the table--this was critical for us because my students are in middle school and heights differ, so the ability to see them was affected if we did not make this choice. Finally, the table was at a slight angle; this also helped with seeing the actors when they were seated."
- Review by Cynthia Abeln-Starnes, Calhoun Middle School, Denton, Texas
- "Student audience member Will Kinder: "This play made me think for myself as I developed my own opinion as to what happened." Director Cynthia King: "Running the show without an intermission gave the actors a great challenge for focus and great opportunity for character development.""
- Review by Cynthia King, Notre Dame Regional High School, Cape Girardeau, Mo.
- "This is a gritty, passionate play that allowed us to showcase a diverse range of emotions. Tempers flared from passive-agressive to bare-clawed, bare-toothed rage. With themes of bigotry and class struggle that are as relevant today as when the play was written, this touching drama kept audiences on the edge of their seats."
- Review by Robert Keim, Red Creek High School, Red Creek, N.Y.
Hints, Tips, and Tricks
- "We actually used real automatic switchblades that were blunted and dulled down to the quality of a butter knife. Instead of stabbing into a wall, because that didn’t feel like something a woman would do, we stabbed the knife into a book that has foam board replace a section of the cover and about the first 40 pages. That way, they could stab the knife into something that was consistent, easy to see, and didn’t have to fight gravity."
- Tip by Ashley Beck, Presentation Academy, Louisville, Ky.
- "We presented this piece in the round for a more intimate experience! It brought the audience right into the jury room."
- Tip by Rick Tryzbiak, NW Penn Collegiate Academy, Erie, Pa.
- "[I] found an interesting way to handle the two-knife bit. I placed a one-foot wide flat immediately DS of the DL doorway. Behind the muslin, I installed two soft carwash sponges with a plywood backing. Both characters jammed "fake" switch knife into wallÑwith sponges holding them from falling out."
- Tip by Greg Bittick, Florence High School, Florence, Ariz.
- "We used small stage in a large group instruction areaÑintimacy was a huge plus. A few historical prints, a flagÑall set!"
- Tip by Sheila Thompson, Yorkville High School, Yorkville, Ill.
- "We used the round theatre format. The audience loved it and felt like they were really a part of the story."
- Tip by Renee Burton/Dorian Myers, Power APAC School, Jackson, Miss.
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