Partaking in the gripping play “The Laramie Project” by Moisés Kaufman was an eye-opening experience that continues to influence me. The documentary play, revolving around the murder of gay university student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming in 1998, is beautifully scripted and authentically portrays and conveying the feelings of the individuals involved.
I played the role of three different characters: a prosecutor, a car mechanic and Reggie Fluty, the policewoman who found bloodstained Matthew Shepard tied to a fence. Portraying multiple characters is not an easy feat. As an actor, I wanted to successfully communicate the feelings of the three characters whose backgrounds and connections to Matthew differed so greatly. The moment I went onstage, I did not want to be seen as an ‘actor’, but as who I was portraying and speaking naturally, as if I was truly living their life. From swapping between the mindsets of each character to rushing to change my costume onstage, it was an especially fulfilling experience to be more than one character because of the challenge it brought up - both physically and mentally.
The experience has a great impact on my life in UWCSEA overall. As a new FIB student, my involvement in the play really helped with my integration into the college. My participation has not only led me to encounter numerous people who are just as passionate about the arts as I am, but has also helped me understand the school itself better. Apart from that, it solidified my newly found passion for theatre. Becoming attached to characters, immersing myself in the roles and seeing life from their perspective has been a very eye-opening experience.
In the end, “The Laramie Project” was a thought-provoking play imbued with feeling and commitment from start to finish, with its zealous actors peaking at just the right bits - which is never a guarantee. The wonderful thing about theatre is that no two performances are the same. From my first production, I finally came to understand Alan Rickman’s words, “Actors are agents of change. A piece of theatre can make a difference. It can change the world,” just as participating in The Laramie Project has changed mine.