Mount Players’ 12 Angry Men scoops awards

The Mount Players’ production of 12 Angry Men has won an extraordinary five Victorian Drama League awards at the league’s annual awards night in Melbourne.
The production, staged in May, won major awards in four categories, which led to the ultimate accolade of Best Production for 2019!
Awards included:
Best Set Design – Alison Dudon
Best Actor in a Minor Role in a drama – Jarrod Catt with Scott Hasse also being nominated.
Best Lead Actor in a drama – Adam Gehling, with Craig Lenaine-Smith and Darren Gregor also nominated.
Best Director – Leo Vandervalk and Frank Harvey.
Co-director Leo Vandervalk said the play was based on the original screenplay from the classic film, so this production tweaked the set to perform to a live audience.
12 Angry Men is normally done on a rectangular table with six people along one side and six along the other side
but the audience would be looking at the backs of people, so I made a boomerang so they were all facing the audience,” Mr Vandervalk explained.
“That way no one would miss the mood of the jury men or the reactions on their faces as the show went on.
“Both of the directors – myself and Frank Harvey – knew exactly what we wanted in casting.
“It was a magic cast, I’ve never worked with guys who gelled so well together.
“The comments that I got from the audience or the adjudicators, they all said that it was perfectly cast.”
Of winning the Best Director gong, Mr Vandervalk said he and Mr Harvey were ecstatic.
“Both of us have been wanting to do this thing for many years but it just wasn’t available for amateur theatre,” he said.
“There were adaptations (for the stage) but they just didn’t have the same punch so we just waited and waited and waited until the rights became available.”
The Mount Players will next year perform Switzerland, while the Youth Theatre has a couple of shows in December. Visit themountplayers.com for details.

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