“Better than ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” – Sir William Blackstone (1765)
American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) presented a play, which was adapted from the original play ‘Twelve Angry Men,’ by Reginald Rose. The play, directed by Elizabeth O’Sullivan, head of the drama club, was performed by University’s students and staff.
The play is based on the U.S. judicial system, where a person accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty. It is up to the prosecution to convince the twelve people on the jury that the accused is guilty. If the jury cannot come to an agreement, they declare a hung jury and the case has to be prosecuted again with a new jury.
The show was originally written for 12 men, but AUIS casted 12 women. “Part of our workshop was discussing the challenges an actress faces when a role is switched from male to female,” explained Sullivan. “How do gender stereotypes affect the decisions women make, and how does the meaning change when different people say the same line.”
The production of the play was an experimental workshop, and emphasized learning and developing a variety of skills, both on and off stage. The cast and crew learned how to equally share their input in all aspects of the production, including set design, photography, costumes and line delivery. “We created the show as a team,” Sullivan said, “and because of the support from our community at AUIS we were able to deliver performance at its best.”
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