Thursday December 19, 2013
Twelve people sat in a jury room at the federal courthouse in Burlington and voted on whether the sixteen-year-old criminal defendant was guilty or not guilty of murder. It was a tense moment – could they come to a unanimous decision?
That moment will be revisited on stage when those deliberating, actually middle school actors, perform the ensemble drama “Twelve Angry Jurors.” Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School, in association with The First Light Theatre Project, will present Reginald Rose’s classic play January 10 and 11, 2014.
December 5, United States District Court Judge William K. Sessions III welcomed the cast and crew of the show to the federal courthouse in Burlington. He explained to the students how a jury is selected, described the progression of a criminal trial, and detailed the roles of different people in the courtroom. Judge Sessions answered questions from the students about juries, including what is different about jury duty today from the 1950s, when the play is set. In addition to sitting at the table where juries in Judge Sessions’ jury trials meet for their deliberations, the students were able to sit in the jury box and tour the judge’s chambers.
This intense drama, revolving around notions of fairness, bias and responsibility, is as relevant today as it was when it was written in 1954. Bringing together twelve often clashing personalities, the play focuses on how the characters handle negotiating with one another and passing judgment on a fellow human being.
Performances are scheduled for January 10 and 11 at the South Burlington High School auditorium, with two evening performances at 7 p.m. and a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. The show is directed by David Bailey. For more information on the show and for online ticket sales, visit www.firstlighttheatrevt.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.