The role of the anti-hero was explored in 12 Angry Jurors by Rustenburg Girls’ High School and Rondebosch Boys’ High School last week. The production, which ran from Wednesday to Saturday, served to prick the audience’s conscience. “There are no pure villains, only villainous acts, the worst of which might be ignorance. All of the characters in 12 Angry Jurors are anti-heroes, to a greater or lesser degree. Each exhibits shades of both virtue and vice,” says codirector Adrian Skelly, head of the Arts Faculty at Rustenburg Boys’ High School.The play is derived from Twelve Angry Men, a courtroom drama written by Reginald Rose concerning the jury of a homicide trial. It was broadcast initially in 1954. Skelly feels that although it might not have the whimsy of last year’s production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 12 Angry Jurors speaks to our time. “On stage, a number of the characters are hot-headed and unable to control their flaring tempers as tension in the confined space simmers and sizzles. Scathing words spurn and burn those who disagree. Juror 8 (Nicole Smith) puts herself in the firing line when she courageously stands against the majority, particularly Juror 3 (Robert Walker) who has reasons for being so hot under the collar,” explained codirector Carey Hickson-Mahony, principal of the Cape Academy of Dramatic Arts.The cast of high school students had the opportunity to stretch their acting chops with the heavy material.“Adopting a US dialect and sustaining this throughout a two-hour production is no small feat. Even more commendable is the tremendous psychological depth,” said Hickson-Mahony.Seeing these actors in action, it is easy to forget that the cast members are so young. “Given their professionalism and strong characterisation, some audience members might forget that they are actually watching high school learners.,” said Skelly. At the end of the show on Saturday, Skelly announced the 2020 production with great dramatic flair as Hickson-Mahony pulled a golden ticket from an envelope. Up next will be Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.