As I stepped foot inside Mill Mountain Theatre, I was presented with a blank canvas; the atmosphere, both heavy and somber, was already established by the bare stage without a single actor or set piece present. Instantaneously, I was enthralled by Ole Miss Theatre’s production of The Laramie Project, a documentary piece of theatre that highlights the controversial case of Matthew.
The ensemble functioned as a cohesive unit that continuously emitted an authentic sense of community based on their palpable chemistry. Individually, the actors handled the challenge of depicting multiple characters with ease as they took on innovative personas with the adaption of a new accent or mannerism. Though some actors struggled with consistent character portrayal, collectively the cast painted vivid, gruesome imagery. The minimalistic set and neutral color pallet of the costumes aided in shifting focus to the emotional complexity of each performer. The actors’ connections to their characters and to one another bombarded me with charged emotions that were re-enforced by the lighting and music that accented in such scenes as the candle vigil.
As rising artists, this cast challenges malformed societal ideals and heals aggrieved souls with a simple but earthshattering message: this could happen anytime, anywhere, so live and let live.