Calling all Theater companies and performers!

Open Call to Theater companies, performers, researchers:
I would like to hear other voices besides my own on this blog. If you'd like to write about your TLP experiences here, e-mail them to me and I'll put them up.
Topics can include dramaturgy to staging to personal responses to the play. Anything goes!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Plan-B Theater Company Remembers TLP

The Laramie Project, originally uploaded by planbtheatreco.

Plan-B Theatre company is a Salt Lake City-based theatre troupe who, according to their website, "develops and produces unique and socially conscious theatre." Considering their social mission, then, it's no surprise that they were also the first independent company licensed to produce The Laramie Project after the Tectonic run was complete in late 2001.   The theatre company has a blog post looking back on their own personal recollections of the Shepard case and the staging of that monumental run of performances in 2001.  It's a pretty moving story-- especially when you read who showed up to watch their performance (and I'm not going to spoil it for you by telling you who...)

In addition, they have a series of photos from the theater company on Flickr so you can see their body of work over the last decade or so-- and let me tell you, it's pretty impressive.  Their repertoire since 2000 has ranged through a wide range of thought-provoking drama about everything from GLBT issues (like this one) to race to terrorism. 

 There is a set of stills for The Laramie Project as well in the Flickr set, but I'm having trouble from the context of the pictures telling whether or not they're from this original run in 2001 (pictured left) or if they're from a later run, possibly in celebration of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later.  They weren't uploaded until a month ago and there are no descriptions, so I'm not going to venture a guess.  I will say, however, that it looks like it was brilliantly staged. 

In any case, I wanted to share with you their poster for the run, which is a fascinating piece of artwork from both a symbolic and an aesthetic point of view.  I love their view of the sky-- literally boiling in the turmoil of a prairie sunset, crashing down and yet opening an escape-- and the double image of both Shepard's binding and release.   The artist is playing around with some great imagery of social turmoil, freedom, and hope. 

But of course, the thing that most clearly catches my eye is that fence.  They didn't design the scene with a buck fence in it, and being a good Utah company in an area with lots of rural landscapes and wilderness, I have to wonder if that was on purpose because I simply can't imagine they wouldn't know what a buck fence looks like.   Perhaps it's not too strange to read their choice as a refusal to participate in the grisly symbolism that had, by the time of this run, built up around buck fence where Matt was beaten.  If so, that's an impulse I can completely understand and actually sort of appreciate.

In any case, you now have four links above to explore and play with.  If nothing else, check out that blog post!  It's fascinating for a lot of reasons-- especially with tidbits of things that were in the original TT run but then were edited out by the time the Vintage edition was released, nearly at the same time as this theater run.  Please, check them out!

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