Students to present ‘12 Angry Women’

Audiences can expect a host of surprises during the Livingston Parish Talented Theatre’s presentation of “12 Angry Women.”

During the adaptation of “12 Angry Men,” audiences will be “on the edge of their seats,” said cast member Madison Rushing, a senior at Walker High School.

Rushing, who plays the one “hold out” juror during a murder trial, said every time she reads the script she gets chills.

“You really don’t know how it’s going to end,” Rushing said.

Cast member Kassidy Ortego, of Walker High School, agrees.

“When you first hear about it, it sounds very boring and slow but it’s not like that at all,” Ortego said. “It’s very high energy; it’s very intense.”

First telecast live on Westinghouse Studio One in September 1954, “12 Angry Men” by Reginald Rose, begins after closing arguments of a murder trial and follows the jury deliberations deciding the fate of the young man accused.

A guilty verdict means the death penalty. Reasonable doubt means they must acquit, and the decision must be unanimous, Talented Theatre teacher Stewart said.

Rose revised the teleplay for the stage in 1955 and adapted it yet again for the 1957 film. It returned to television in 1997 and debuted on Broadway in 2004, 50 years after it was created. The Roundabout Theatre production won the 2005 Tony for Best Revival of a Play, Stewart said.

Directed by Stewart, the production features the typical nameless jury (characters are identified only as juror No. 1, Juror No. 2, etc.), but here they are played by a cast of 12 women.

The cast consists of high school girls from Live Oak High and Walker High.

Rushing said she likes how the play was adapted for women because “women are more moody.” The all-female cast adds a dramatic element not before seen in the male version of the play, she said.

“It kind of makes it more interesting to see how they react,” Rushing said.

Britney Kelley agrees that the all-female cast adds more drama to the play.

“We add lots and lots of drama,” Kelley said.

Every year the Talented Theatre Program chooses a show that represents their numbers, talents, and interests.

Working together — some of the students since middle school — has helped the cast bring audiences unforgettable performances, Rushing said.

“We’ve all grown up in talented theatre,” Rushing said. “We all know what our weaknesses and strengths are. We’re a good working team.”

And, as Ortego pointed out, “the characters really stand out.”

“Each of the characters represent who we are,” she said. “It’s the extremist version of who we are.”

Audiences can see the performance beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at North Live Oak Elementary School, 36605 Outback Road, Denham Springs. Performances will also be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A Sunday matinee begins at 4:30 p.m.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students.

From Walker High are Rushing, Ortego, Joni Bankston, Lauren Buchanan, Miranda Bordelon, Cassidy Smith, Samantha Lichtenstein, Megan Robertson and Madeline Miley. The Live Oak students include Kelley, Brielle Pourciau and Haley Miller. Landon Hazel, of Walker High, appears as the bailiff and the only male in this play.