Twelve Angry Jurors - February 04 - February 06, 2022

Mahtomedi High School

  Director's Notes  

"We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there 'is' such a thing as being too late. This is not time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action."


     ~The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. (August 28th, 1963)



I live in Anoka County. In October of about four or five years back, I served on a jury for a domestic terrorism case. The young man on trial, a black man, had said things to his girlfriend that the prosecution was attempting to convince us were terroristic in nature. Words that we hear Juror #3 speak (from 60 years ago) were enough to try this young man. Now keep in mind that this script was pretty fresh in my mind as I had produced the show in the relatively recent past. 


To my surprise, one of my fellow jurors made some comments that I couldn't believe. Phrases like "This is the way they always talk, it's no big deal to them" and "I bet the police are very familiar with that apartment complex" made the room uneasy and gave me a stomach ache as my body just couldn't handle my own frustrations with this man. Juror #10, in real life, right now in front of me. 


I knew that this show would never mean the same thing to me again. I don't need to change the words from 60 years ago. I just need to look at them with open eyes. Reginald Rose's screenplay from 1957, and adapted for Broadway in 1964, is the script we are presenting today. If it feels like the script, and the issues the characters face within it, is a statement on current political and social climates today then that shows how we have not done enough since Dr. King said those words at the Lincoln Memorial so many years ago. In that same speech, he said:


"Now is the time to lift our nations from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."


In 2018-2019, only 5% of teachers in Minnesota were people of color as opposed to 34% of students. There is so much that can be said about our society based on those two numbers alone. In my opinion, justice should include everyone being able to see positive role models who look like they do in all corners of our society. Choosing this show was an attempt to keep people talking about important issues. Whether you agree with me or not, it's my personal opinion that positive conversations are what will bring us together. Our two-party system of arguing only hinders our moving forward.


I am so amazed by the cast, understudies, staff, and crew of this production. They have taken on the work of this challenging script and have gone full steam ahead. They have taken on the process of thinking about these tough conversations in this script such as race and immigration issues, and have tried to identify their own viewpoints. They looked at the persepective of the characters in this show and worked diligently to provide a cohesively staged piece of art and discussion for our community to digest together. This performance will likely not bring you many laughs. Hopefully it will engage you and have you on the edge of your seat nonetheless. Whatever your viewpoint of America in the last 60 years, hopefully you are inspired to discuss these things based on facts and not emotions as Juror #4 would insist.


Also - for more conversations when you are on the car ride home - what do you think? Is the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? 


Have great conversations! Good luck.

~Dennis Joslyn




Page 11 of 15