'12 Angry Jurors': Tupelo High School presents drama as season opener

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

Guilty or not guilty – that is the question. Tupelo High School presents “12 Angry Jurors,” a gender-equal version of the famous 1957 film, “12 Angry Men.”
In it, a jury debates the case presented to them: A young man is charged with killing his father, and they must decide if he’s guilty – and should therefore receive the death penalty – or if he’s innocent. The jury’s deliberation ranges from heated debates to racist rants to physical altercations – giving the students at THS a chance to sink their teeth into serious roles.
“They’re really good arguers,” said director Allana Austin. “A lot of these actors are also on the speech and debate teams.”
Sophomore Lacey Morgan plays Juror No. 6, described in the play as “dim-witted,” but she sees her character as simply not as sophisticated as the other jurors.
“I thought of (people I knew) who are from small towns, who have small town roots,” she said. “I’m drawing from people I know. (My character) sits back and draws her own conclusions.”
Senior Hamilton Lence is using his skill at mimicking accents to play No. 11, an immigrant who believes in the American justice system.
“He brings everything into perspective,” Lence said. “He’s a voice of reason.”
His character even jumps into the fray to keep his fellow jurors from coming to blows.
It’s a heavy role, but it’s one he’s excited to play. It’s a meaningful way to start off the THS theater season.
“It’s probably the most dramatic opening play since I’ve been at THS,” he said.
The THS Theatre Company’s season includes “Almost Maine” on Nov. 8-10, “Spoon River Anthology” on Feb. 14-16 and “Back to the ’80s” on April 18-20.
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com

Dim the lights
What: Tupelo High School presents “12 Angry Jurors”

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Tupelo High School Fire Arts Auditorium

Cost: $5

Info: (662) 841-8970

– “12 Angry Jurors” cast and crew: Shannon Shepherd (Juror #1), Mary Ellen Cobb (Juror #2), Wes Burcham (Juror #3), Austyn Davis (Juror #4), Charlie Davis (Juror #5), Lacey Morgan (Juror #6), Morgan Southworth (Juror #7), Alex Soderstrom (Juror #8), Katelyn Steig (Juror #9), Noah Cox (Juror #10), Hamilton Lence (Juror #11), Victoria Wise (Juror #12), Ray Patrick (Judge), Colm McCool (Bailiff), and student director Melodie Sanchez.