Gainesville Daily Register

February 26, 2014

Butterfield Stage to put new spin on classic play

Special to the Register

Gainesville — Butterfield Stage continues its long tradition of providing classic productions with its latest show – “12 Angry Jurors.”

Performances start Thursday, March 6 through Saturday, March 8 and Friday, March 14 through Sunday March 16. Tickets are $15/$10 for children.

Special rates are available for school classes sponsored by local teachers. All shows start at 7:30 p.m. except the Sunday show which starts at 2:30 p.m.

“12 Angry Jurors” is a mixed juror version of “12 Angry Men” made famous in the movie of the same name starring Henry Fonda and a host of famous actors.

The Butterfield cast, which includes many BSP favorites and some newcomers, is directed by Melissa Karol.

The cast includes Mary Jo Dollar, John Rogers. Jeffery Watson, Danny Winters, Chris Hubbard, Jocelyn Allgood, Robin Spark, Wes Porter, Jonathan Kubis, Hollis Parsons, Russell Schmidt and John Riding as the Bailiff. And in the key role of juror number 8 is Perry Goodwin, one of the area’s favorite character actors.

They provide a level of entertainment that would make the original movie cast of Martin Balsam, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall and Jack Klugman proud, said Butterfield marketing director Frank Mahnich.

“‘12 Angry Jurors’ focuses on a jury's deliberations in a capital murder case,” Mahnich said. “ A 12-person jury is sent to begin deliberations in the first-degree murder trial of an 18-year-old Latino accused in the stabbing death of his father, where a guilty verdict means an automatic death sentence.”

Mahnich said the provocative play — at first — appears to focus on an open-and-shut case.

“The defendant has a weak alibi; a knife he claimed to have lost is found at the murder scene; and several witnesses either heard screaming, saw the killing or the boy fleeing the scene,” he said.

Eleven of the jurors immediately vote guilty. Only Juror No. 8, Mr. Davis, played by the aforementioned Perry Goodwin, casts a not guilty vote.

At first Mr. Davis' bases his vote more so for the sake of discussion. After all, the jurors must believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. As the deliberations unfold, the story quickly becomes a study of the jurors' complex personalities (which range from wise, bright and empathetic to arrogant, prejudiced and merciless), preconceptions, backgrounds and interactions.

That provides the backdrop to Mr. Davis' attempts to convince the other jurors that a “not guilty” verdict might be appropriate. Arriving at a unanimous not guilty verdict does not come easily. The jury encounters many difficulties while learning to communicate and deal with each other.  

The Butterfield production will highlight how each individual’s frame of reference and prejudices effect their perception and cause difficulties in the communication process.

This production indicates that some things including bigotry are still alive and well.

Reservations and tickets are available by phone at (940) 665-1284 or online at www.butterfieldstage.org. MasterCard and Visa are accepted.

Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.