For just the second time in SJR performing arts history, a student is directing a school production.
Liam Fahey ’24, who has been rehearsing a cast of twenty students since September, has embraced the challenge, saying that his desire to direct the show actually dates back to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Honestly, I was just desperate to get more time on the St. Joe’s stage,” said Fahey. “Since I came to St. Joe’s during Covid, there was a limited opportunity to do SJR’s usual split of one big musical and a play or smaller musical in the spring. Because of that, we missed the second production in my sophomore year. I wanted to get the chance to make up for that.”
And 12 Angry Men seemed like the perfect choice.
“I watched the 1957 film version during the summer, and it completely caught my attention as a condensed, powerful story that was both simple to stage and featured an all-male cast. I really wanted to emphasize all the talent we have at SJR. We are not only strong in our principal roles, but strong in our depth as well. The fact that there are twelve jurors in the cast meant that more than twenty guys would get a chance for significant roles in the play, and that would include guys who generally are more comfortable in the background of the musical.”
Tickets are on sale now at sjr.booktix.com. Showtimes are Fri 11/3 at 7 PM, Sat 11/4 at 7 PM, and Sun 11/5 at 3 PM.
Depending on a classmate and first-time director to lead a complex production might have caused some student actors to hesitate, but Jack Laux ‘24, who plays Juror 3 (“the loudest and angriest juror”) had no such concerns.
“I really wasn't nervous about committing to a student directed play because I knew Liam really well going into the process,” he said. “When he first came to me with the idea, I was ecstatic and ready to dive in. It's been like a regular school show in the sense that everyone is committed to their part and the overall success of the production.”
And as it’s turned out, the challenges of staging the show had less to do with the director, than the unique structure of the show itself.
“12 Angry Men is a complicated show because the whole cast is on stage the entire run time,” said Jack Meyers ’27, who plays Juror 5. “Usually, you get breaks in the action, and can step off stage, but here you must be fully present and in the scene for the entire show.”
Laux agreed: “12 Angry Men is particularly tricky to perform because there some many moving parts throughout the show. With the number of lines interspersed, it's challenging to remember where you are in the script. It's especially difficult because everyone is on stage the whole time and you have nowhere to look back at your lines in-between scenes.”
Furthermore, staging what is essentially a ninety-minute debate with twelve people who are strangers to each other was no simple task.
“According to Liam’s plan, we have stripped [the show] down to truly drive the themes that make up the story,” said Michael Kaminsky ’24, who is both stage manager and assistant director for the show. “The challenge has been making sure that both the actors and set create a sense of drama and engagement with the audience. Ensuring that characters are reacting to each other while maintaining a pace appropriate to the urgency and seriousness of the situation is critical.”