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So, I'm appearing in a community theater play, 12 Angry Jurors. I'm playing
Juror 12. My director envisions my character as this young New York City
advertising type - he's very cocky and full of swagger, but he's also insecure
and kind of jumps into conversations he's not invited into because he wants
desperately to impress people but fails to do so because he's trying too hard.

He apparently works with Batton, Barton, Durstine, and Osborne...since the
director doesn't seem to want me to play older than I am(my character being
younger than the other jurors seems to be driving his insecurity), the character
would be 27 and I'm assuming in some kind of entry-level job there. I get the
distinct feeling this is my character's first real job right out of business
school- he can't stop mentioning that he's in advertising because he wants badly
to impress these people.

What would a typical 27-year old young advertising type in New York City be
like? What would his education be? How would he dress? I mentioned wearing a
polo shirt but my director told me that he doesn't think Juror 12 would be that
casual- not three-piece business suit level, but 12 would still be trying to
impress people. What would you see him dressing in? (This is probably directed
to Arbour.) Keep in mind that it's set during summer. I'm seeing boat shoes and
seersucker shorts, but I could be wrong.

The character is also supposed to be from Baltimore...I'm thinking some
kind of upscale suburb like Silver Springs. I get the distinct feeling he's a
spoiled, pampered type who was taught by his parents to think he's the absolute
shit and every word that comes out of his mouth is brilliant, but I don't know a
ton of people from Maryland. Sharon, is there any chance you're familiar with
guys from that kind of background in the area?

It's going to be fun creating this character. I was told that the last time
they staged this, back in 1996, they had Juror 12 act like a coke addict,
because in the 1980's and 1990's Coke was a big part of Wall Street. They don't
want me to do that, but I was thinking he's probably downing a lot of Red Bull.

Anyway, any feedback or input would appreciated. Thank you!

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This is my kind of area xD

 

I'm a theatre director so I know what your directoris getting at.

 

The questions you are asking, are exactly what you need to fuel the character. You should find evidence in the text for any decision you make - that not only will help you learn your lines, but develop your character more. (X. Leret - Kaos Theatre Company)

 

It's hard to answer these questions for you - go onto youtube and type it in. Read about them. Talk to people like it. Use this experience, to imagine into the character. (K. Stanislavski - An Actor Prepares)

 

Looking into Brecht's A-Effect (Verfrundums (check spelling) Effect in the original german) - he did alot about learning about the social conditions of character and how this helps to develop character. (B. Brecht - Brecht on Theatre, The Alienation Effect in Chinese Acting)

 

If you were a long time from the play - you are at exactly the right point to be asking questions.

 

If i can quote Antonin Artaud (famed theatre director) 'we are not free, and the sky may fall upon our heads and above all theatre is there to teach us this.' - most plays have a hint towards the pointlessness of life. We create our own energy as a personality and this fuels us as actors. (A. Artaud - Letters on Cruelty, The Theatre and Its Double, On The Balinese Theatre)

 

Look up Grotowski's 10 Principles - you might find some interesting help there to help your acting - although it is highly complicated - just try not to feel Grotowski's love. You'll probably die (true story, apart from Peter Brook, anyone that has fallen in love with Grotowski as a director has mysteriously died shortly after).  (J. Grotowski - 10 Principles, Kumeiga: Grotowski's Theatre)

 

I've bracketted a few texts you might want to look at, from practitioners that have helped me as a theatre practitioner.

 

The best actor reads, learns, then approaches his play - in a totally different light.

 

Don't be afraid to PM me if you need anymore help :)

 

Gosh i'm such an acting nerd xD

 

**

 

Edit: Costume you should worry about closer to the production. The costume will come out of your characterisation. :)

Edited by Johnathan Colourfield
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For what it's worth, I always thought William Petersen did a good job as Juror #12 in the 1997 remake. It's been years since I was in New York, but I've worked with and mentored several young MBAs from 'good' schools like Tuck and Thunderbird in recent years, and I'd say his portrayal would be accurate even today, both in terms of behavior and how he presents himself. 

 

I can't remember if Juror #12 is on the creative or the account management side - if the latter (which I think he is) he's likely to be more conservative, or at least try to look that way. So I doubt shorts. If he's casual it would be shirt (or even polo shirt) and Dockers-type pants. Otherwise suit, but probably no tie.

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