Shoemaker gets dramatic justice for ‘12 Angry Jurors’

This semester a student will have the chance to direct a play at UCO, as theater performance major Cole Shoemaker debuts his staging of Reginald Rose’s “12 Angry Jurors,” Nov. 9-12 in Mitchell Education Center, Room 211. 

He’s gotten this opportunity from UCO’s theater honor society Alpha Psi Omega. 

Shoemaker said he feels the story of “12 Angry Jurors” is best described by a single line from the play: “What does that mean? Reasonable doubt.” “12 Angry Jurors” follows a jury deciding the guilt or innocence of a young man accused of murder. Shoemaker said he had a different approach than others who have done the play in the past and emphasized diversity in its large cast.

“Largely the piece is a critique of the justice system specifically here,” Shoemaker said. “I wanted a cast that reflects that.” 

One of the main things Shoemaker has learned during the directing process is how lonely directing can be. Actors constantly have the rest of the cast to bond with and work off, but as the director, Shoemaker, a frequent stage and film actor in UCO projects, is the one overseeing everything. 

“You’re being the person overlooking it all,” he said. “People come to you with questions because you’re the one that knows the character’s motives. It’s different than acting.”

While directing has been a rewarding experience, Shoemaker also said that at any moment, he could have to address the needs of the show. Whether it’s answering a cast question or meeting with someone regarding the set, he has to be ready at all times. 

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