NYSTI explores the judicial process with 'Twelve Angry Jurors'

Fans of the theatre will have reason to check out the New York State Theatre Institute (NYSTI) this fall, as the theatre group will be performing one of stage's greatest dramatic thrillers, with their production of Twelve Angry Jurors at the Schact Fine Arts Center on the campus of Russell Sage College in Troy.

The production is based on the original play, "Twelve Angry Men" by Reginald Rose, and is being directed by stage veteran Ron Holgate.

"Twelve Angry Jurors" is basically identical to the original version of the play, with the exception of women being a part of the jury. The version being done for NYSTI by Holgate actually takes aspects from many different scripts since the story debuted on television in the 1950s.

"They did a version for all women called 'Twelve Angry Women', so we kind of took that," said Holgate. "I kind of moved a few lines around from the other scripts and adapted that."

Other subsequent versions, such as the 1970s movie starring Peter Fonda and its theatrical adaptation, recently on Broadway, go more into the juror's personal lives, but Holgate decided to stick to the original for NYSTI's production. "I preferred this version, because in this version you only know them as jurors."

NYSTI's main emphasis for their productions has always been driven toward families and children, and Holgate feels that they will have plenty to be excited about when the curtain rises.

"It's a terrific showand a great lesson in the law and how it works, especially the meaning of 'reasonable doubt'the show also deals with racial prejudice to a certain degree," said Holgate. "It's a great, entertaining way of learning something about the law and how prejudice can influence your decision in something like a jury."

Holgate also considered updating the show for a modern setting, but decided against it for several reasons.

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