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REVIEW: The Laramie Project at Oyster Mill Playhouse

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Oyster Mill Playhouse is capping off its 2022 season with a powerful production of The Laramie Project, directed by Lois Heagy.

Essentially a story within the story, The Laramie Project is the product of more than 200 interviews conducted by members of New York’s Tectonic Theater with the residents of Laramie, Wyoming after the brutal 1998 murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard. Over the course of a year and a half and six trips to Laramie, the Theater’s members gained insight into the political, economical, spiritual, and emotional ripples Shepard’s murder cast upon the small town, the nation, and ultimately the entire world. 

Review of The Laramie Project

Real-life events aside, The Laramie Project is a fascinating theatrical experience that Oyster Mill performs with genuineness. Each cast member plays five to nine separate roles, seamlessly switching between narratives to share the stories, experiences, and feelings of Laramie’s residents after Shepard’s murder.  It’s an incredible feat for any actor and production, even with the lightest of subject matter. The limited props and costumes used by the cast and the basic set make the production even more intimate and the story more accessible.

One of my favorite things about local and community theater is the passion visible on stage, something I witnessed during Oyster Mill’s last production, The Glass Menagerie. You can tell that the actors love what they are doing, and any actor who chooses to take this story on is dedicated to their craft. This show is truly one of those times where you need to sit and take a deep breath – both from the actual story and the performances – when the lights come back on and the cast comes out for their final bows.

At any and each show I’m lucky enough to attend, I’m constantly reminded that art is important – a sentiment that rings so loudly throughout The Laramie Project. Both Shepard’s and Laramie’s stories are experiences that are worth sharing, and Oyster Mill tells them powerfully and beautifully. 

The Laramie Project runs through Nov. 20 with weekend performances.

Next at Oyster Mill Playhouse

Next up, the theater will kick off the holiday season on November 26 with The Golden Gays holiday extravaganza Thank Yule for Being a Friend

Oyster Mill’s 2023 season kicks off in January with Agatha Christie’s Verdict. Check out their website for tickets and up-to-date information on performances and safety protocols.

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