Connecting theatre and a social cause, ‘12 Angry Men’ was a play reading by women. The evening’s aim was to raise funds for White Ribbon, Australia’s only male-led campaign to end men’s violence against women.
Presented in a stripped-back format, with twelve chairs on the stage of the Alex Theatre in St. Kilda, the reading of ‘12 Angry Men’ brought people together for a night of entertainment and awareness of abuse. The cast was composed of twelve Australian actresses with an impressive list of credits between them all. You’ll definitely have heard of at least one of the following women: Noeline Brown, Pia Miranda, Anne Charleston, Jane Allsop, Gina Liano, Anna Burgess, and Claire Hooper. Donating their time to be part of the ‘12 Angry Men’ reading, these women directly supported White Ribbon and women’s safety.
The event began with an introduction to the cast and a speech advocating awareness of White Ribbon and to end abuse. Director Lucy Freeman briefed the audience about her decision for selecting an-all female cast for this classic play, whose original cast is all male. This choice was symbolically effective in its literal use of women to fill men’s roles. By replacing men with women, this interpretation of ‘12 Angry Men’ gave women the same credibility and authority as men within the context of government and theatre, suggesting that safety from abuse can and should exist outside of the confines of gender.
The theatre itself was enjoyable. Its staging simpler than a full theatrical production, this play reading let the script and the energy in the actresses’ voices lead the way. The story explored the deliberations of a jury as they worked towards unanimity in deciding the fate of a teenager accused of murder.
Uniting a cause with theatre, the solidarity found between the jurors at the end of ‘12 Angry Men’ the same sense of solidarity society can work towards in ending domestic abuse.
Hannah Rundman, originally from Michigan, USA, is an arts manager and lover of art that breaks the mold of established mediums. She values eye contact and art that brings diverse groups of people together.