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Well…juror 12 starts the vast majority of his lines with that word, so I figured I would as “well.” They usually say 'the best for last, but “well” that wouldn’t be the case here. This has been quite a process. Juror 12 was played in the 1997 remake by one of my favorite actors with Chicago roots. A guy by the name of William Petersen, yes SEN. So I was excited to get the opportunity to play this number. I was in general just excited to get the opportunity to be cast in such a legendary show. I was also glad we stayed true to the original version. 12 Angry MEN.

I know this show well. But I guess I didn’t really know the characters well until I started doing this production.

You see, Juror 12 is in advertising. He has million-dollar accounts so he has to be well educated. He has to be smart. He has to have a sense of humor. He has to be personable. But, in the jury room, the layers of his onion are peeled away and we find a guy who tries and tries and tries, but doesn’t fit in. He wants to be liked. He wants to be respected. He wants to be valued. But in reality, he’s an insecure, people pleaser trying to hide his own inadequacies from the other men of the jury. That may work at the ad agency when he’s around others who speak his language, but these other 11 men are different He’s not stupid, but he just doesn’t “know,” So he goes from one side to the other trying to find a group that will accept him.

There are things that move him. He listens intently at moments when others talk about deeply important issues, He wants to make the right decision. But suddenly it’s not so simple, He just doesn’t “know,” I never saw this part of him before. Not until this show and with help, I unpacked who he really is.

I guess I didn’t really know myself all that well as an actor either. Richard pointed out things to me about my acting that I guess other directors had also noticed over the years but never told me. He says I have improved. So, I will leave here better than when I started, which should be the goal.

I guess as I have gotten to know juror 12, I have gotten to know myself. Funny, how things happen in this world. We try not to typecast in the theatre world, but it may have inadvertently happened here. There was a reason I was cast in this show. And there was a reason I got this particular juror. It has been a time of great self-discovery.

I am Juror 12

William Athow

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