“The Laramie Project,” as performed by the Glendale College Theatre
Arts Department, was a three-hour, drawn-out theatrical experience.
While it was an admirable play for the college to undertake, it
proved a daunting challenge for the student actors.
Written by award-winning playwright Moises Kaufman, the play
revolves around the 1998 murder of gay college student Matthew
Shepard in the small town of Laramie, Wyo., and the devastating
effects the hate crime has on residents of the town.
Even though the production was tenaciously long, actors Brian
Keith Price and Aaron Foley definitely shined on opening night.
Price had wonderful projection in several roles, which was a rarity
among his other fellow actors, and he delved deep into his
characters’ idiosyncrasies and mannerisms, giving them life.
Foley, also cast in several roles, clearly loved being on stage,
and it was a pleasure to see an actor with such enthusiasm for his
craft. Maggie Mollett was notable as the sheriff’s deputy, who tried
to revive a dying Shepard.
Most enjoyable and quite visually interesting was the superbly
minimalist stage design created by Guido Girardi and Rich Scolari.
The sets, composed only of abstract, white canvas shapes superimposed
with quietly subversive slides of images that were equal parts art
and photographic narrative, served well to transport the audience
into the town and buildings of Laramie.
Overall, the production suffered from opening-night jitters and
technical glitches. The delivery of lines both in the enunciation,
projection and cadence were definitely a problem for many in the
cast. Obscuring the actors further were poor lighting and a faulty,
blaring speaker that drowned them out.
However, all that can be forgiven when looking at the bigger
picture and realizing the challenge that these student actors took to
bring the emotionally sensitive and politically charged production to
The Glendale College production took on an expansive project that
will benefit the student actors as they discover the arc of their
characters and put their own stamp of individuality on the play.
It was a pleasure to see “The Laramie Project” in a local college
theater production, and it might well be worth going back again just
to see what growth and improvements these young actors make in their