This week, justArts spoke with Rafi Diamond ’18, who is directing “12 Angry Jurors,” to be put on by Hillel Theater Group this upcoming weekend. Rafi also directed HTG’s production of “Guys and Dolls” last semester.

justArts: How does directing this show compare to “Guys and Dolls?”

Rafi Diamond: It feels very different going from an open-cast musical to a straight play with a limited cast, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from the first process. Obviously, there’s a difference in the number of people and attitude of the show, but it’s nice to see familiar faces and to be working with similar people again.

JA: How did you decide you wanted to direct this show?

RD: It was proposed to HTG and voted on, and I felt it had a really important message, especially considering the timing of the show right near the election. It was a really interesting look at justice and injustice and how we work in the system to change what we care about.

JA: What’s been your favorite part of directing the show?

RD: So far, my favorite parts have been being in rehearsal with the cast, trying to figure out difficult scenes, how to show when people are doing something wrong and when people are doing something right and really getting into the human aspect of the characters and what they’re saying and how much they mean it [versus] how much they’re just saying what they say.

JA: What has been the most challenging part so far?

RD: It’s been a real challenge to have so many people on stage the whole time and trying to figure out what everybody’s doing for every single second of the show. To go out of work, especially from the actors, to sit there for 90 minutes not talking for most of the time — because most of the time, most of the characters aren’t talking! Trying to make sure that they’re really present in what’s happening in the show, then working through that and figuring out where that is; it’s become really impressive to see how much their energy adds to the show.

JA: What do you hope the cast got out of working on this show?

RD: I hope, aside from having an opportunity to explore a character very deeply for a long amount of time and really embody that character, they, too, have started thinking about some of the themes we’ve discussed, both in the rehearsal room and in the show.

JA: What do you hope the audience gets out of watching the show?

RD: I really hope the audience starts to think about justice and the role they take in pursuing justice and being part of justice and law and rethinking how they see the legal system and how they see themselves.

JA: Anything else you want to add?

RD: I really hope everyone comes to see our show! We’ve all been working really hard on it and I think you’ll all gain a lot from it!

—Lizzie Grossman