Slide Design: Tim Matheson
Venue Studio 58, Langara College
26 September - 13 October 2002
Reviewer: Jane Penistan
rural Wyoming, this play tells the story of the aftermath of the horrendous
murder of a young gay man. The inhabitants of Laramie are shocked
by this crime, but they are forced to examine their beliefs and social
mores in their efforts to discern who is really guilty of this violent
offence. The script is derived from interviews with the townspeople
by members of the Tectonic Theatre Company and compiled by Moises
Kaufman. This makes a powerful drama demanding a large cast.
The director, Diane Brown, wisely uses a bare stage, with two mobile sets
of bleachers. The backdrop is a screen on which appropriate slides are projected,
keeping the audience informed. There are small areas on either side of the
main playing space which are lighted for small incidental scenes. This stark
simplicity gives the actors a quick change of venue by the use of specific
lighting. The re-arrangement of the bleachers is accomplished either behind
a screen of cast members performing a scene or as part of the action and
this keeps the narrative flowing without interruption. At times the actors
speak from the auditorium, bringing the audience even further into the scenes.
The many cast members play multiple parts. While the dramatis personae are
introduced by name, each character is clearly defined and well delineated
-- no mean feat for inexperienced actors. Costumes are used to denote professions,
but otherwise are generally everyday small town.
This stripping down to bare necessities in the set and costuming echoes
the depth of the examination of the origin of the hate and bigotry, which
precipitated this crime. The very soul of the town is laid bare on the dissecting
As an exercise in characterization this play is excellent material for students,
but it is much more than this. It is an investigation into modern behaviour
and ethics. This play is for all time as well as our time.
Project runs from26 September to 13 October, Tuesday through Sunday at 20.00,
with Sunday matinee at 15.00 at Studio 58 at Langara College, 100 West 40th
Tickets Tuesday to Thursday $15 general admission, $14 for students and
seniors; Fridays and Saturdays are $16 per person and both shows on Sunday
are half price or $8 per person. For information and reservations, please
call Festival Box Office at 604.25.0366.
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