On Oct. 7, 1998, Matthew Shepard of Laramie, Wyo., was found brutally beaten and tied to a fence post. He was subject to a hate crime, just because he was gay. This news not only shocked the little town of Laramie but the nation as a whole.
Lake Braddock High School’s performance of Moises Kaufman’s "The Laramie Project" was one of power and emotion. The members of the Tectonic Theater Project set out to interview the people of Laramie in order to get a true sense of what had happened and display it through a play.
Though "The Laramie Project" is a difficult and controversial show, the cast and crew did an almost flawless job. With each actor playing multiple characters, the cast did a wonderful job in developing each character separately and mostly keeping them distinct. At times, though, some characters ran together and a few key moments were lost due to lack of diction.
Mark Jennings as Matt Galloway, the bartender on the night of the incident, and Robert Austin Wingfield as Doc O’Connor, a limousine driver, both had great character development. Each added greatly to the somber moments as well as comic relief to the drama.
Casey Stein, playing Marge Murray, and Elizabeth Holtan as Reggie Fluty, effectively portrayed a mother-daughter relationship when on stage with each other.
Kristen Ries' lighting design was minimal but effective. Every time an actor appeared on stage or in the house they were lit. Though at times the characters in the house had shadows on their faces.
As the show came to a close, Dennis Shepard, the father of Matthew Shepard, gave a speech to the courtroom of his feelings of the proceedings. Adam Ressa as Dennis Shepard gave a captivating performance. Though the monologue was short, the audience was moved and felt for Mr. Shepard’s pain.
Lake Braddock’s performance of The Laramie Project definitely displayed talent from all sides. Even with a few mishaps, this did not keep the audience from giving them a rightfully deserved standing ovation.
Cappies is a high school critics and awards program involving 50 schools in the Virginia, Maryland and D.C. areas.