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Sunday, March 31, 2019

Switch-blade tension

ACT’s 12 Angry Women - April 26 to May 10

  12 Angry Women is sort of a courtroom drama, but without the courtroom. It’s what happens after all the theatrics of a week of testimony.  But it’s even more theatrical once you lock a dozen people into the pressure-cooker of a stifling-hot jury room to come to a conclusion on whether a young man is guilty of murder — literally a life-or-death decision that hinges on a switch-blade.

  12 Angry Women will play at four Island venues between April 26th and May 10th, staged by ACT (a community theatre).  It is directed by Terry Pratt and produced by Richard Haines.

  “He doesn’t stand a chance,” is what the court guard opines at the outset.  But is that so?  This is a play that works on doubt and on the edge-of-seat tension that comes from the interpersonal dynamics among the twelve jurors, women of very different backgrounds and temperament, who have the duty to reach a collective conclusion.  What does it take for individuals to stand against the sway of the majority, and finally come together?

  The play is full of gripping dramatic moments.  The psychological tension builds as the jurors’ hands go up, one after the other, for another vote.  Abrupt flip-flops of opinion take us by surprise.  Physical confrontation erupts into near violence.  And there’s that startling move with the switch-blade.

  The play has an impressive pedigree of proven success.  It is an adaptation of Twelve Angry Men — which was first a TV drama, then a movie, then staged in London and on Broadway.  The play can be inspirational: this very month a project called 12,000 Voices has been organizing readings of the Angry Men version by casts of women all across the United States — to promote women’s voter registration and civic involvement.

  Though set in the 1950s, that dating is not very important.  Indeed, the message — about evidence, probing beneath the surface, critical thinking — is quite relevant in our own era of populist appeals (think Trump and Ford) to a base audience who crave black-and-white simplicity and the easy answer.  It is not surprising that the play originated in the infamous McCarthy era.

  This production offers novelties.  It’s theatre in-the-round, so that the audience feels an intimacy, a very part of the jury-room.  The show is going ‘on-the-road’, playing in four different parts of the Island.  And it’s unusual that a dozen of the Island’s talented women actors get a chance to shine together on stage throughout the entire play.

  Those ‘angry women’ are Pamela Rowe, Justeann Hansen, Laura Stapleton, Barbara Rhodenhizer, Tamara Steele, Jennifer Shields, Marla Haines, Catherine MacDonald, Kate Martin, Margaret Brady, Nancy MacNevin, and Robyn MacDougald.  Their profiles can be seen at https://actpei.tumblr.com.

  There will be four performances in Charlottetown at the Carriage House (West street), hosted in association with Beaconsfield Historic House: the evenings of Friday 26 April, Saturday 27 April, and Sunday 28 April, plus a matinee on Saturday the 27th.  On Thursday 2 May the play is at the Watermark Theatre in North Rustico.  Then on Saturday 4 May it’s in the Eptek Gallery of Summerside’s Harbourfront complex.  The final performance is Friday 10 May at the Kings Playhouse in Georgetown.  Curtain time is 7:30 pm (2:00 for the April 27th matinee).  It runs for 80 minutes, plus intermission.

  Tickets are priced at a flat-rate of $20 (plus box-office fees).  Each venue has its own system for issuing tickets:
  Beaconsfield www.ticketwizard.ca,  Watermark www.ticketwizard.ca
  Kings www.kingsplayhouse.com     Eptek www.harbourfronttheatre.com

Information: 12angrywomenact@gmail.com   www.actpei.ca   Facebook - ACT(a community theatre) … 902-628-6778

Posted by RobAdmin on 03/31 at 03:10 PM
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