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Fall Play: Guilty of a Good Time

%2712+Angry+Jurors%27+opened+Nov.+17+and+performed+two+shows+and+a+matinee.++
'12 Angry Jurors' opened Nov. 17 and performed two shows and a matinee.

'12 Angry Jurors' opened Nov. 17 and performed two shows and a matinee.

'12 Angry Jurors' opened Nov. 17 and performed two shows and a matinee.

Olivia De'Ath, Staff Writer

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Fall play “Twelve Angry Jurors” was performed  Nov. 17, 18 and 19 and was directed by English teacher Krista McKim and media services technician Steven Mirman and co-directed by student director senior Rebecca Ehlers. This play was Mirman and McKim’s first drama production at RHS after Daniel and Dana Tobiassen stepped down last year.  

The play is based off the 1954 classic “Twelve Angry Men,” but with a modern twist that includes females, explaining the gender neutral title of the play. The 1954 performance tells the story of 12 members of a jury deliberating on the sentence and outcome for a homicide trial. The play not only deals with the controversy inside the courtroom, but with the judicial structure in general.

For her first play, McKim decided to direct a play that she loved and was familiar with, she said. Mirman said he was excited to add his technical skills and background to the drama department.

Before coming to RHS, McKim directed plays while working at Roberto Clemente Middle School and in college. She has also been working with Ford’s Theatre for the past five years to improve theatre productions and school public speaking programs in the country. Mirman has been working as RHS’ Media Services Technician for four years, but this is his first year as the drama’s technical director.

The play began with four justice speakers, played by senior Antonio Robinson, freshman Willow Graves, junior Ines Donfack and sophomore William Gangnath, comparing the current rate of arrests and incarcerates between the U.S., Maryland and other countries.

After the judge, also played by Robinson, briefly explained the events leading up to the trial, the audience was introduced to the different personalities of each of the 12 jury members; five members were female, while seven were male.  

The deliberation on the case began, and only juror no. eight, played by sophomore Cecilia Funk, voted “not guilty” on the sentence of a teenage boy who allegedly killed his father. She was criticized by her fellow jurors on her decision, and throughout the play often butted heads with the aggressive juror no. three, performed by senior Evan Hamod. Through a series of persuasion and dealing with modern issues in society, juror no. eight was able to convince the other jurors to unanimously vote the boy “not guilty.”

Through different parts of the play, the justice speakers informed the audience about the high taxes instituted to incarcerate people, the amount of people in prison and the prejudice shown to the accused.  They stated that these injustices disproportionately affect different races, religions, genders and social classes, and that the wealthy are almost always favored in comparison to the poor.

In addition to the unique interpretation of the classic play, McKim said she was pleased with the large outcome of students involved in tech and crew and their enthusiastic attitude towards the project.

“It’s been so fun seeing them jump in and take ownership of this play, and becoming really passionate about what they’re doing,” McKim said.

Alongside McKim and Mirman, Ehlers held a large role in the direction of the play. She kept everyone on task, helped with memorizing lines, filled in for any absent actor and got everything ready for the show. Considering this play was McKim and Mirman’s first performance, it was simpler and less complicated than previous productions, Ehlers said.

“It was interesting having a much smaller cast and not [having] any ensemble,” she said.

Ehlers has been doing musical theater since she was five years old, and has participated in all the drama productions while at Rockville. A senior now, she plans to minor in theater and psychology next year, she said.

Among the 50 students working in the crew, this was junior Ryley Gardner’s fifth play at RHS. He was involved with light programming and painting the set, as well as consulting the directors about how they wanted scenes to look for the audience. He plans on working with drama in the future, and encourages others to do so, too.

“If anyone’s thinking about joining the play, cast or crew, it’s never too late. I’ve made loads of friends through drama and I highly suggest it to anyone mildly interested,” Gardner said.

Overall, “Twelve Angry Jurors” was a prominent success with a great group of talented and passionate students involved in acting, building and directing it. Accompanying Rockville’s 50th anniversary, the Ramstage will be celebrating its 13th anniversary, and presenting Spamalot as this year’s spring musical.

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Fall Play: Guilty of a Good Time