A friend of mine attended jury duty several years ago. When I asked him to describe the experience to me, he told me that the thing he found most fascinating about the entire experience, was the fact that three impartial eyewitnesses each had a different account of the car crash they saw.
This has stuck with me for a long time; Perspective, lens, viewpoint- literally and figuratively. Not just in a court trial but in a polarized world.
Now we are taken back to 1957 in New York City. A boy is on trial for his life, for murder. The jurors; 12 completely varied personalities, largely juxtaposed, in some cases, entirely. But this is how our system was designed to work and how juries are selected.
Can this jury even work together? Possibly... They have to don't they?
Building, uncovering, and discovering the character of Juror #8 has been a tedious process for me that requires plodding patience- of myself and for myself. This character knows that to be entirely sure can be a very dangerous place to be in. He also knows it is his duty to motivate his peers to think and re-think and question, even when his own point of view, of which he admits himself, is sure of nothing. Maybe...maybe not. He only knows this - the discovery of truth must be a process and not a preconceived notion.
It has been a joy to work with this cast - a few of which I have worked with in the past and most of whom were complete strangers to me from day one.
Richard expects a lot from his actors. He makes no bones about it. I like it that way. Many nights, the work is difficult but it is also so rewarding as we all witness this play seemingly take on a life of its own after about a month in.
We are here for one reason. To bring "justice" to Reginald Rose's great play, Richard's unique vision of it, and our actors' interpretation of it, together. If we do this well, we will bring art to our audiences.
Who knows, in the end, maybe like my friend's experience on jury duty that has stuck with me so personally all these years, perhaps in this polarized time, perhaps we can all open our minds to perspective, together.