News Details

September 29, 2014

Theatre Department Presents First Production October 9

The Department of Theatre and Drama at West Virginia Wesleyan College presents The Laramie Project on October 9-11 at 8 p.m. in Culpepper Auditorium in the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts.

The Laramie Project, directed by Greg Mach and written by Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theatre Company, is a play in response to the 1998 kidnapping, beating, and death of University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, WY. The murder was denounced as a hate crime and brought attention to the lack of hate crimes legislation in various states, including Wyoming. The play draws on hundreds of interviews conducted by the theatre company with inhabitants of the town, company members’ own journal entries, and published news reports. It is divided into three acts, and actors portray more than sixty characters in a series of short scenes.

Unlike other shows performed at Wesleyan, The Laramie Project will both entertain and raise questions encouraging the audience to evaluate their own community’s values, strengths, and demons.

“Real people have more contradictions, more uncertainty, and a quality that makes the style of this show more natural and raw than some of the lighter fare we have offered,” said Mach. “This show will hold a mirror up to our own communities by examining the aftermath of this tragedy in a typical small town America.”

The cast list includes two narrators, English major Elizabeth Clever of Inwood, WV, and Emily Jenkins, an elementary education major of Albright, WV, as well as eleven actors made up of students, faculty, and community members. The actors are: Rachel Channell of Elkins, WV, English writing major; Chad Clem ’11 of Buckhannon; Alliyah Corley of Elkton, MD, musical theatre major; Tyler Dos Santos of Herndon, VA, theatre arts major ; community actor Christopher Estep of Buckhannon;  Marilyn Evans of Delaware, OH, musical theatre major; Olivia Hancock of Renick, WV, musical theatre major; community actor Edwin Hollen of Buckhannon; community actor Bryce O’Loughlin of Buckhannon; Jess Tichenor ’14 of Buckhannon; and John Waltz ’01 of Buckhannon, director of admissions & enrollment marketing.  These eleven actors play up to nine different characters throughout the performance.

Other productions planned for the fall semester include: Next directed by senior student Bill Hensel on November 7 and 8 in the Annex Theatre.

Urinetown: the Musical directed by Thomas Schoffler, chair and assistant professor of theatre arts, on December 4-6, in the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts’ Culpepper Auditorium.

General admission is $7, $5 for senior citizens and $3 for students with a Wesleyan ID.

If you have any questions regarding The Laramie Project performance, please contact Gregory Mach at

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