You’ve seen it on screen. Now watch 12 Angry Jurors on stage with RAGE’s latest production
When we walk into the rehearsal for 12 Angry Jurors, actor Rajit Kapoor is busy creating 'reasonable doubt' in the minds of his fellow actors. Now and then, lines escape his nuanced moves; he snaps his fingers for the prompt and lines come from a voice offstage.
For those of us familiar with the classic 1957 Hollywood film, which goes by a similar title — 12 Angry Men — the plot hinges on this critical phrase. A boy has been accused of murdering his abusive father, and the jury is more than ready to convict him, given his lower class status. But, one juror is not convinced. Is his reasonable doubt enough to change ‘guilty’ to ‘not guilty’?
(Centre) Actors Rajit Kapoor and Deven Khote (in white) at a rehearsal of 12 Angry Jurors. Pic/Atul Kamble
12 Angry Jurors is RAGE’s latest production, and helming it is director Nadir Khan. For this play, Khan unabashedly admits that he has not done his film homework. "The stage version of Reginald Rose’s 12 Angry Men was based on his own teleplay, which was later made into the movie. While the script is Rose’s original, our treatment of the characters is different, to make it more accessible to the Indian context,” he says. RAGE’s play has kept up with hypernyms and political correctness, as far as the title goes. The rest of the play blows open class prejudices. The play’s concerns with the course of justice stay relevant even today.
The fact that India doesn’t have a jury system has not thrown off Khan, who swiftly offers a gist of jury-trials. The real challenge, if you have watched the Sidney Lumet film, is to help audiences keep with the course of the debate, as the jurors, locked up in a deliberation room, tussle between their blinkers and justice. 12 Angry Jurors is not all about heated emotions; it has a lot of mind to it as well. “The film allows access to the 12 characters along with the facts of the case in a concentrated way, just because of the close-ups and frames etc. However, this luxury is also the challenge of doing a staged production of it. Here, we can’t cut between characters or moments or close-ups; the canvas stays the same and is much larger than in a film,” says Khan.
If you are a big Lumet fan, you probably know how the story ends. Will that deter you from watching the play? Or is this one more way to relish a classic? Have a dekko, and see how it goes.
Where: St Andrews Auditorium, St Dominic Road, Bandra (W)
When: June 4 and 5, 7.30 PM and 4 PM
Cost: Rs 300 — Rs 1,000