A staged reading of the courtroom drama 12 Angry Men takes place this weekend in Connecticut.
The script, written in the early 1950s, centers on a small, claustrophobic room as 12 male jurors ponder the guilt or innocence of a teenager accused of murdering his father. If found guilty, the boy – an immigrant from a tough neighborhood – faces the death penalty.
The play was made into a film in 1957.
This weekend’s reading will be one of dozens of similar performances at law schools, neighborhood centers, community and regional theaters across the U.S. all with the same unique take: 12 Angry Men will be performed by women. It's part of an initiative called “12,000 Voices.”
Connecticut director Laura Garger says the original script was written before women were allowed to sit on juries in all 50 states. “You can imagine a lot of people going to the movies and seeing for the first time what might happen in the jury room,” she said.
She gave her female actors specific instructions on how to approach their characters.
"One of my directions to the cast was, 'Don’t approach this by acting like a bunch of men. Come to it with your experiences as women,'" Garger said.
“12 Angry Men Presented by 12 Impassioned Women" takes place Saturday evening at the Arts at Angelorias in Southington. It's a production of Herstory Theater – and one of dozens of all-female performances of the play nationwide this weekend, aimed at encouraging civic engagement.