Written by Patrick Chavis
The Laramie Project, now playing at the First Christian Church in downtown Fullerton, is a play about the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay man in Wyoming. It’s a compilation of various interviews and opinions surrounding the murder and the case.
This play has some compelling material because it’s real. These were real documented conversations, and within these conversations, you can see how ignorance on a mass scale can manifest itself in cruel violence. In the case of this play, it was the hatred toward the gay community.
The play asks many important and challenging questions and presents strong evidence as you, a theatre member, are witnessing the mindsets and culture surrounding the murder and the death of Matthew Shepard. What theatre can do so well is show a complicated process, make it more accessible, and confront you about it.
This was a barebones production of this show — no frills at all. This show consists of actors coming up and down a stage and then looking at the audience while answering different questions. The acting was perfectly acceptable.
There’s no amplification on the actors. Luckily, the voices travel well in the church. Still, it can be hard to hear what some actors are saying, even at close range.
The show runs close to two hours with a short intermission in the middle.
The play features powerful material, but this production doesn’t dramatize or elevate the material much. If you are going, it’s mainly for the play’s message.