Volume 73, Issue 26
April 26, 2002

The Laramie Project tells story of real life tragedy

Jen Daley

This April 25, 26, and 27 The Laramie Project, directed by drama professor Dale Daigle, will be performed in Tawes Theatre at 8 p.m.

Several members of the drama department took on both on-stage and behind-the-scenes jobs for the show.

Junior Bridget McKevitt, a drama major at WC, is the assistant director and soundtrack designer for the show.

Senior Jillian Kroos is the stage manager. She said, "My job is to make sure that everyone else is doing their job. With 13 actors playing 76 characters it got kind of hectic trying to figure out who's who and if one person is missing, it makes a huge difference."

Actor and WC senior Tamanya Garza said, "My major role is Rebecca Hilliker, head of the theater department at the University of Wyoming. [My] other roles include Eileen Engen, a rancher and Laramie resident, Alison Mears, a social worker and Kristin Price, girlfriend of Aaron McKinney, one of the young men who was found guilty of the brutal beating that lead to Matthew Shepard's death."

Freshman Sarah Curnoles plays the roles of "Zackie Salmon, Trish Steger, Anonymous, Jen, Russell Henderson's Mormon Home teacher, as well as some of the narrator parts."

She continued, "My characters are all very unique and I have never experienced something as horrible as this, so it has been hard to relate on that level. I try to find their motivations and their unique personality traits that make them who they are to bring those characteristics alive."

Katherine Mahoney, a first year graduate student, "graduated from Washington College with a Bachelor's Degree in drama and a minor in political science in 2000. She said, "I play a Tectonic Theatre company member, Amanda Gronich, Dr. Cantway, Sherry Aenenson, the Judge and parts of the narrator."

When asked about the challenges preceding the show, she explained, "I think because this entire play is based on interviews of actual people in Laramie, the biggest challenge has been finding a balance between artistic license as an actor and staying true to the people of the town and the intent of the authors of the play."

Said Garza, "Also, dealing with a wide variety of characters has made me work much harder as an actor because you do all the same work you do for a normal play, but you have three or four or five different characters that each have to be different and identifiable that you have to do it for."

She added, "And you don't want that separation to ever become a caricature, making the character the butt of a joke, but you do want the audience to know just by the way you sit, or laugh, or how your voice sounds 'Now she's Rebecca, now she's Eileen."'

Kroos explained her opinions about the show: "What I find most interesting is how Moises Kaufmann and the Tectonic Theater Company were able to include so many different opinions on such a controversial subject and still keep it emotional."

She continued, "I still cry a little bit at the end of the play. It was truly a well written piece that teaches the effects of all different forms of hatred and how we as humans deal with it."

When asked about her greatest challenge, Curnoles explained, "Since everything is pretty much quoted directly by a real person, I want to get the lines just right. What they say are the only real clues we have about each of the character. I am so impressed by all the talent that I am working with; I have full confidence in them. I am really excited for the show to go up!"

Garza said, "I think the show will be wonderful and amazing. It kind of takes you by surprise because it's very different from most plays you see. It's based on characterization, not action."

She added, "But there is so much truth and simplicity in what each of the characters is trying to express that you as an audience member come to understand the action that surrounded the event from the night it happened, until after the trials."

Mahoney shared, "I think it will be a success if the audience walks away knowing two things. [The first is] that we have a lot of talented young actors here in the drama department, [the second is] that hate is not a WC value."

She continued, "The thing that I have always loved about acting is the cast environment. This group of friends and strangers came together about two months ago with a common desire to act in a play. Saturday night, we will all leave the stage as a family. Though it may sound cliché, it's the greatest feeling in the world to share a bond like that."