Laramie Project auditions draw in actors looking for a challenge

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Hannan Waliullah

Laramie Project (3)Students crowded around outside of room F104 — some were finishing homework, others were rehearsing anxiously, one was even playing the harmonica. They were all waiting to enter the drama room to recite a monologue with their expressive emotions. As they waited patiently, names were called one by one for an audition for “The Laramie Project”.

“The Laramie Project” is an unconventional undertaking for the Drama department, as this performance deals with a heavier topic than usual. Based on a real life event, the play revolves around how a small-town community reacts to the murder of a gay man, Matthew Sheppard. In contrast to past plays at MVHS, the genre and style of “The Laramie Project” stands out.

“[It] was created from interviews of people that actually lived in Laramie or knew Matthew Sheppard and is a reflection of real people and the words that they actually spoke,” drama teacher Sarah Capule said. “They took these interviews and wove them together to create this play.”

One of the main reasons the drama department gravitated towards this play was because of its difficulty. Due to to the unorthodox layout of this play in comparison to past plays that MVHS has done, the nature and structure of this play will challenge the actors who decide to partake in it..

“You have to act so many different characters, [and since] these characters are actually real people,” Capule said, “portraying them authentically is incredibly important.”

Capule also explained that since “The Laramie Project” is dealing with a community’s reaction to a homophobic hate crime, for some, the content may be difficult to discuss.

“From a content perspective, it deals with a current social justice issue,” Capule said. “And that’s not something that this community has been especially exposed to.”

Students who auditioned for the play could also detect its difficulty. Freshman Leila Hashemi expresses how the play’s subject matter is more ambitious than previous works, and how a play is a unique medium to depict it through.

“When you’re reading [a newspaper], you imagine [these situations] and you can kind of see where it’s coming from”, she said.  “But when you’re seeing a stage, you’re seeing what you were imagining.”

Not only is this play designed to challenge the actors, it is also designed to be engaging with the audience. According to senior Eric Crouch, some actors of “The Laramie Project” hope to convey a message to the audience — although the play itself has not changed, what it was originally trying to convey and what actors today should try to convey are drastically different.

“People who are homosexual are not treated fairly,” Crouch said, “not because the law say they can’t be treated fairly…[it’s because of] the hearts and minds of many people in the country.”

Even if these issues are contemporary, in our community, senior Osher Fein said that these issues are not discussed frequently enough. Many of the actors, including Fein, agreed that there is a negative stigma towards talking about controversial issues, especially in our community. They hope, that with the Laramie project, they ignite a discussion and remove the silence.

“The Laramie Project” is a play that Capule hopes will try to show the reality of the situation, something that she says will become more clear as people watch the show.

“The goal of this show is not just for entertainment, it’s for invoking thought within the audience. So I hope that [people] think about what they saw, and what’s going on in our society,” Capule said. “With that said, the goal of the show I think is not to promote any kind of agenda, in any way. It’s really geared towards telling the story of what happened in this town.”