A hot summer day plus a room full of jurors with a pending verdict is an equation for intensity in the upcoming production of "12 Angry Men."
The Little Theatre of Walla Walla will present "12 Angry Men" on Feb. 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, and 26 at 8 p.m. There will also be a matinee show on Feb. 20 at 2 p.m.
For directors Gloria Schille and Jeff Schlicher, this show has been in the plans for a number of years. After seeing the show in Seattle a few summers ago, Schlicher knew he had to be a part of this production somehow. They have been talking about it ever since, and this year, everything fell into place to make it happen.
"This is a production that I have wanted to be involved with for a long time," Schlicher said. "The concept is so well done, I had to do it."
Schille said, "It's kind of been a dream that we actually get to do it. We're just both so crazy about the show."
In "12 Angry Men," the audience follows the journey of 12 jury members with the task of deciding the fate of a young man on trial for murder in the 1950s. The hot summer day and the difficult decision cause tempers to rise in the room, creating a jury of 12 angry men.
"Even though it was written in (the '50s), it's still extremely relevant today," Schlicher said.
This production has been under way since December 2010 when auditions were held. The all-male cast was selected and rehearsals began soon after. Working with the actors has been a special experience for Schille over the past few weeks.
"It's been a lot of fun working with all these men," Schille said. "Twelve men are on stage the whole time."
The production is an adaptation by Sherman L. Segel from the 1954 teleplay written by Reginald Rose.
The 12 jurors from the story are played by local men volunteering their time to the theater. The jurors include Terry McConn, Carlos Virgen, Thomas Beebe, Jim Michelson, Phillip Millett, Mark Kucza, Tim Meliah, Kevin Loomer, Douglas Carlsen, Porky Thomsen, Rich Hinz and Nick Lopez. Gerry Weber and Roger Trick also play roles in the show.
"They are wonderful people," Schille said. "Everyone is just so generous with their time."
The actors have an array of experience. Some have worked professionally in theater, some have never acted on stage prior to this and still others have been involved with theater for years in the roles of actor and director. Schille and Schlicher are extremely happy with their cast.
"It is always fun to watch an actor achieve your vision on stage," Schlicher said. "This cast just knocks my socks off every night."
"The guys have really stepped up," Schille said. "They want this to succeed as much as we do."
In contrast to the all-male cast, the crew is all female and working just as hard.
"Carol Anselmo designed our set and with Jan Torland and Bronwyn Berna created the color schemes and the ‘look' that Jeff and I envisioned," Schille said. "They did a terrific job of listening to what we wanted and then making it real."
Angelica Dimock is costumer, a challenge in this 1950s setting. Finding vintage suits for 12 men is no easy task, but Dimock succeeded and Schille and Schlicher are pleased with the costumes.
"She did a great job and managed to maintain her sense of humor too," Schille said.
Other crew members include Jessica Barkl, Sarah Thompson and Christine Koehler.
The jurors' table, the primary setting for the play, was built and designed by Phillip Millet, one of the cast members.
For more information about "12 Angry Men," visit The Little Theatre of Walla Walla's website at www.ltww.org.