’12 Angry Men’ makes for drama in Ohio courtroom

MARYSVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A central Ohio acting group is putting a literal twist on courtroom drama with a staging of “12 Angry Men” at the 133-year-old Union County courthouse.

Actors portraying the titular characters will sit in the same courtroom seats used by real-life jurors. The fake lawyers will take their spots at the attorneys’ tables. And the real judge, Don Fraser, will present the introductory instructions given to the fictional jury that is tasked with deliberating the fate of a stabbing suspect in the drama.

“It’s like I’ve been preparing for this role for years,” Fraser joked at a rehearsal.

Doug Hoy, who’s playing Juror No. 3, told The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/18Btzye ) that putting on the play in a real courtroom makes the experience more real for the audience.

“No stage lights, no microphones. You strip it down to this, and it isn’t fiction. It’s real,” he said. “Sitting here listening, you can’t help but take sides.”

The unusual play setup is believed to be a first for the old, stately courthouse in Marysville, northwest of Columbus.

In getting permission to use the facility, it may have helped that one of the actors in the Silver Scene Players production, real-life local attorney John Cannizzaro, used to be Fraser’s law partner. Cannizzaro, who plays Juror No. 8, said the group wanted an intimate setting and considered churches and restaurants but couldn’t find the right fit until another member suggested the real courtroom, which seats about 90 people.

The performances running through Sunday benefit local food pantries.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

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