Classic work still contemporary

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Director Jarrad West (left) and actor/producer Cole Hilder said Everyman Theatre’s production of 12 Angry Men sees the local company take on a complex work that delves into the themes of racism, prejudice and masculinity. Photo: Kerrie Brewer.

An iconic 20th century play known and beloved the world over, and immortalised in what many consider one of the greatest films of all time, director Jarrad West is excited to bring the timeless 12 Angry Men to life later this month.

“I love the fact that it’s such a simple concept of 12 men in a jury room talking about whether someone is guilty or innocent.

“It’s a classic courtroom drama and it’s right up our alley,” he said.

West said the work appeals from the perspective of delving into its meaty themes of racism, prejudice and masculinity.

“It has a real feel of masculinity in all its forms, and at Everyman Theatre our mission statement is around exploring the questions and concepts of masculinity, gender and sexuality.”

Actor and producer Cole Hilder said it’s a mountain of a piece that presses questions upon its audience.

“We’ve come a long way, but how far have we come since 1957?

“It’s interesting to see that the more things change, the more things stay the same.”

Performed in the round at Queanbeyan’s Bicentennial Hall, Hilder said the setting will further engage the audience in the already gripping work.

“Setting it in the round, you are in this room with these people, you have to listen to it and be a contributing part of this piece, and people are going to find it very confronting,” Hilder said.

Their production of 12 Angry Men comes on the eve of Everyman Theatre announcing their 2019 season, their milestone 10th season, which will see them put on three shows to be announced later this month.

“I’ve always said that now we’ve reached 10 years, it’s time to step it up a bit,” West said.

“We’ll be doing one of the greatest American plays ever, a musical, and one of the most famous Shakespeares ever.

“We’re planning on doing a wide spread of stuff that might not necessarily be done otherwise in Canberra.”

12 Angry Men by Everyman Theatre will be performed at Queanbeyan Bicentennial Hall, 14-24 November; theq.net.au

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Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts