Amy Swerlowycz delivers new spin with all-female version of courtroom classic

Former Dawesville resident and performer Amy Swerlowycz is gearing up for the premiere of the latest show to hit the Roxy Lane Theatre, Twelve Angry Jurors.

The all-female cast (except one) is putting a new spin on the classic courtroom drama Twelve Angry Men.

Directed by Simon James, the setting of the play has also been adapted from America in the 1950s to Australia during World War II, but assured audiences that the basic premise remains the same.

The story follows a young man accused of stabbing his father to death.

After hearing days worth of evidence, 11 jurors vote him guilty will one votes against.

What follows is a tense drama of contradictory evidence and conflicting personalities that keeps audiences guessing.

First created for television in 1954, Twelve Angry Men became a stage play the following year and then a feature film with Henry Fonda in 1957, scoring three Academy Award nominations.

Swerlowycz plays juror 10, the sidekick of the show's antagonist, juror three.

"They've formed a delicate alliance through their shared negative feelings about the case," she said.

"Juror 10 comes across as kind of a bully but her bark is worse than her bite.

"She's bitter about events in her past that have left her filled with anger which, on occasion, is channelled toward an inappropriate target."

Swerlowycz said the main challenge was having all the jurors on stage for the entire play.

"It means that timing is crucial to ensure I'm hitting my cues," she said.

"Being visible at all times means I also need to truly bring juror 10 to life to ensure I give the character the justice she deserves."

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Performing while at high school, Swerlowycz re-discovered her passion for acting last year and has been working on various theatre projects around Perth, including the recent show You've Got Hate Mail.

"Having worked with director Simon James before, the opportunity to be a part of another production, especially one with an all female cast, was really exciting and empowering," Swerlowycz said.

James said an almost all-female version of the play provided a very different dynamic to an all-male or mixed cast.

"Males tend towards the bravado, posturing and attainment of superiority over other men and women," he said.

"Although this can also be true of an all-female jury, it's much more subtle and intriguing to explore the power-plays, insults, jostling for attention and methods used to get individual opinions to dominate over others that occur in a group solely made up of women.

"With a jury of all women, I thought a wartime setting would best explain why there aren't any men available to do their courtroom duty.

"We chose 1944 in an unspecified major city in Australia, as it was after the turning point in World War II, but at a time when victory was still not guaranteed and much hardship was still to come.

"The wartime era evokes a great ambiance - it's a wonderfully vivid and dynamic time in history with distinctive clothes and hairstyles and memorable music."

Twelve Angry Jurors will play at the Roxy Lane Theatre in Maylands at 8pm on May 17, 18, 24, 25, 30, 31 and June 1 with 2pm matinees on May 19 and 26.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit the TAZTix website or call 9255 3336.