A Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Laramie Project"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2003 by Larry Stark

"The Laramie Project"

by Moises Kaufman
& Members of The Techtonic Theater Project
Directed by Kevin Carr

Set & Lighting Designed by Randy Higgins
Music by Kevin Carr
Costumes Designed by Chip Piatti
Produced by Annie Pluto
Props by Todd Rennells
Production Stage Manager Andi Wakefield


Kyla Astley
Alice Curley
Katie Ferreira
Maximillian Flisi
Danielle Fuller
Gisele Ganz
Trudi Goodman
Lynsey Jackson
Kelly Ann Laverty
Janet Raskin
Joshua Schneider
Michael Trabucco
Mark Usher
Heather Lee
Karen Malone
Greg Maraio
Don McQuillen
Robin Rapoport

I think it would be best if I do not try to review any more productions of "The Laramie Project". I have seen three --- first at the Tremont Theatre by Boston Theatre Works, and months later the identical cast doing it again, and doing it even better, out on the Gloucester Stage, then last week I was at The Oxford Street Players', which has some connection with Lesley College. (Another production, this by a Community Theatre, is in auditions or rehearsals even now.)

The show has already become a classic --- as "A Chorus Line" is a classic --- and not, as it might seem, the live stage's answer to "Reality Television". It's a powerful piece of theater, and of course I was moved to tears. But, even as I found this true, I wondered exactly what about that experienced had moved me --- about lines probably all of which I had already seen and heard better played?

Was it just the words? (Nearly all of them were recorded in interviews with dozens of denizens of Laramie Wyoming, and put together by The Techtonic Theater cast and Moises Kaufman their director.) Was it the true story itself? (It tells of young Matthew Shepard, beaten and left to die because he was gay.) Was it this, my third production? Or did this one resonate back through the others, so I reacted as much to memories of how lines had been expressed before?

If such thoughts could bombulate through my brain, how could I call myself an impartial reviewer? I mean, let's face it: when the first few notes of the vamp to "One" from "A Chorus Line" play over the Standing Room Only show, I usually burst into tears like one of Pavlov's dogs.

So much for "Objectivity"!

More importantly, if this had been my first confrontation with this show, would the words and the story shatter me so much that I would easily write a glowing review of The Oxford Players? I really can't say, can I? Have you ever, really, stepped into the Same River twice?

This, though, I can say:
As we all in the audience applauded and sniffed, and I groped for a handkerchief, out of the blurry corner of my eye I saw a handful of people rise shakily to their feet. Their eyes looked as full of tears as my own.

Maybe I should have asked them to write this review.


"The Laramie Project" (7 - 10 August)
at Lesley College, Mellen at Oxford Streets, CAMBRIDGE, MA
1(617) 349-8115

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide