Powerful and Moving
The Laramie Project
River City Community Players
"The Laramie Project" significantly exceeded my expectations. I was worried that the play would be an exercise in activism when, in fact, there were only a couple of portrayals that seemed unfair. To be precise, the Southern Baptist preacher and the Mormon elder were played as caricatures. They ranted and raved and generally came off as ridiculous, not in a good way. Kansas' own Fred Phelps was played like a maniac, which is only fitting. That aside, this play was instructive and well staged.
Mike Forsythe, Brenda Henson, and Carol Varner were particularly impressive; each played multiple characters with exceptional skill. Transitions are smooth, and the pace of the play is lively. The RCCP assumed risk by staging such a controversial play, and attendance was low on opening night when I attended and apparently even lower on the 21st of April. This is disappointing because those who pass on the play for fear of having their sensibilities offended are truly missing out. The story of Matthew Shepard and the citizens of Laramie is worth hearing, and this play is most definitely worth seeing.