The Laramie Project
by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project
Featuring Maggie Chrétien, Tamara Donnellan, Christian Heath, Debra Low, Luke McKenzie,
Scott Middleton, Sarah Rueben and Adam Ward
Directed by Chris Baldock
"Great theatre is rarely about expensive sets, or state theatres, or marquee names in lead roles. Great Theatre is about truth, and emotional connection, passion and spiritual elevation and it can (and should) be a life changing event. Last night Great Theatre was about a sky backcloth, eight wooden chairs, some creative lighting and an ensemble cast of eight superlative actors sharing the vision of a gifted director to honour the text of a truly important and relevant play...This brilliant cast allows each character to just be, without imposing an actor’s ego or even visible technique. The audience simply drowns emotionally in the simplicity and staggering honesty of the work... it is the overall ensemble work which allows us to see not eight individual actors, but an entire community struggling to define itself which makes this an extraordinary production of Baldock’s striking vision." - Stage Whispers
"Minimalist theatre is art form. It requires skill, finesse and craftsmanship on the part of the director and indeed, the entire team of creatives and crew. Luckily for Melbourne audiences Mockingbird Theatre's production of The Laramie Project does justice to those principles...the primary strength of this production is in the acting, the shaping and the delivery of massive amounts of information with care and consideration with a simple but evocative aesthetic. Under the direction of Baldock this carefully crafted production will make you, undoubtedly, pause and reflect." - Australian Stage Online
“…this is a fantastic production of a monumental play…. A magnificently touching and powerful show, and a magnificent debut for the fledgling company which promises a tremendous future in store for them.” – Theatre Press
“The real star, however, is director Chris Baldock, whose confident aesthetic and minimal mise-en-scene give this production much of its power. Stark, assured and controlled, his direction emphasises the play’s quiet dignity, stripping away histrionics and big gestures to focus on the raw pain at the heart of this unforgettable story of small town prejudice and murder.” – Arts Hub
"Baldock’s staging, with his minimalist set and emotive music (not to mention his exquisite choreography), combines with effectual lighting to create a theatrical experience that is steeped in tension, focus and pathos, while not enough can be said about the talent of the cast: the actorly genius of all eight of them is altogether beyond reproach...... A masterful production of a masterpiece that is not to be missed!" - To Dad With Love
"One of the best shows I've ever seen EVER....Do yourself a favour. It's a night out you'll never forget...It's a very powerful show...about love, about respect, about hate, about the human condition. I cannot speak highly enough about it....If you give out 10 stars, I'd give it 11" - 3AW
""Chris Baldock has an unbelievable gift to direct the most emotional and inspirational stories and get the same emotional and inspirational performances from his incredible cast!! Do yourself a favour people and go see 'The Laramie Project' playing now at Chapel off Chapel. You won't regret it!! Congrats to Chris and the cast…."
"Went to see your production yesterday and was blown away. As engaged and impassioned as I am by theatre, was still uncertain whether sparse set and verbatim theatre could hold my attention effectively for almost three hours. Silly me. The script is incredible, the direction inspired and inspiring and the ensemble of actors were faultless and exceptional. You all had me entranced from the beginning to the end and I aim to return and re-watch before the end of the season as well as inform everyone I have ever met ever to come and experience it too. Sorry to gush but I just absolutely loved it. Congratulations to all and look forward to seeing you again soon."
"OMG what a show! Emotional, moving, funny, entertaining, performances on fire! Show must be a hit, congratulations to the cast, director and company you're on a winner. I loved it."
"These Birds are Fabulous. This show is a Gift. A truly moving & wonderful theatre experience. Congratulations & Celebrations Chris & Co. Your première season has taken glorious flight."
"I don't know much about theatre, but I do know your performance of Laramie had a powerful impact! I've seen the sequel (10 years on) and I knew the storyline and format, but I wasn't prepared for your show. Your swift change of characters and the pace of lines was phenomenal! You all proved that acting is an art! Well done and thank you for putting on such a brilliant performance!!!"
"The story and delivery is one of the most powerful productions that I have ever witnessed, the 'connection' left me with goosebumps often. Quite simply, if a play makes me 'care' about each character then its a winner in my book... Mockingbird production and crew - YOU ROCK!"
"Congratulations to all ... thank you for a wonderful night of heartbreaking theatre xXx"
"Well done Chris & the team...it was fantastic, I cant sleep, I’m going over the scenes in my mind...!"
"Thank you so much for a truly wonderful performance.....!!!!"
"…thanks for a really satisfying theatre experience. I hope this is the first of many, many Mockingbird shows that are entertaining, but also challenging, inspiring and hope-giving. Well done - our people gave it a big tick."
"Congratulations and thank you again to the cast and crew. Such a beautiful performance with so much truth bought to the work. Brilliantly acted and brilliantly directed. Will hopefully find the time to come again, I loved it!"
"I would like to thank everyone for tonight's performance. A very moving and powerful piece of theatre, you should all feel very proud. I am in awe of the incredibly detailed work of the cast - it takes a lot of hard work to make it look so effortless and similarly with the direction - a brilliantly crafted and well presented piece of theatre. I take my hat off to you, well done."
"It was awesome. Thank you for an excellent memorable night of theatre."
"I was blown away by the outstanding performances given in 'The Laramie Project' last night at Chapel off Chapel. So many layers of characters and all acted so well! The intensity of this needed-to-be-told story was perfectly executed through quality direction from Chris Baldock & unbelievable delivery of the material by an incredible cast! We have such talent here in Melbourne! A truly captivating show. Go & see it people!"
"Mr Baldock I take my hat off to you and your amazing cast, simply brilliant."
"I was completely enthralled by The Laramie Project today and agree with every word of the Stage Whispers review. The performances were riveting and wonderfully even throughout. Congratulations to Chris and the cast. Don't miss it!"
"What a production, what a show, what a night!!........it was stunning, stunning, stunning! It was theatre in its purest (and best) form. Minimal set, props, lighting and sound. Just the words, but delivered by an ensemble of maximum talent. A Masterclass!! I get a huge kick out of seeing young actors blossoming this way. It warms my heart in knowing that our art form is in very safe hands for the future. I could ramble on and wax lyrical ad nauseum about the production, the 'moments' , but I won't. Just huge congrats to you and the cast and everyone associated with its staging. You've set the bar very high Chris. Bring on the next one!!"
"Saw the play this evening and was absolutely blown away. Incredibly talented cast telling a truly moving story about a terrible event. Honestly, the most absorbing play I've ever seen. Congratulations to you all."
"Saw the most amazing piece of theatre ever last night ... The Laramie Project at Chapel off Chapel. Do yourself a real favour and get down and see it, it is the most moving, emotionally gut-wrenching yet inspiring piece of theatre I have ever seen."
"An amazing journey of emotions that beautifully details the events of a tragic story that will touch every individual. Incredible directing of a brilliant cast that shines light on a piece of theatre that delivers a raw mix of tragedy, love, sorrow and hope. Congratulations to everyone involved.
Unreal, amazing theatre, a myriad of emotions. Thanks guys!
Simply brilliant! True Art in its purest form! Thank you for bringing the truth out to the people. This is very much needed in the society today. :)"
"Beautifully done. I cannot say it any better than the many positive comments so far. I love this script. Still brings me to tears. Your production is moving, powerful, real. The final Act is so challenging - Adam Ward's portrayal of Matt Shepard's father is both harrowing and poignant. I had an elderly couple sitting next to me and the man was wiping tears from his eyes as I had them streaming down my cheeks. This production honors Matthew Shepard but is so much more. It is a mirror to our society even now. Thank you Chris and your superb cast for the experience."
"Simple, eloquent storytelling. For three hours I forgot about everything else; moving, powerful, thought provoking... as it should be. Congratulations to all involved."
"The Laramie Project @ChapelOffChapel was portrayed fantastically by Mockingbird Theatre. You get something new, each time you see or read it."
"The Laramie Project at @ChapelOffChapel was just stunning. #Melbourne you need to see this amazing piece of work."
"Went to Chapel Off Chapel theatre tonight and saw this play "The Laramie Project". Seriously the best play i have ever seen! Not a dry eye in the house. Amazing. If you love theatre and you are fascinated by human behavior, go see this show. It’s showing til 11th Nov."
"Thank you to all involved in this beautiful production ... loved the staging, lighting, sound, brilliant acting ... and a breathtaking story ... yes i cried ... such superb theatre guys thanks again."
"....the whole cast gave their best. There were no weak performances. All props were pared back leaving simply the 8 actors with 8 chairs.... And what magic they wove with it. This Simple format kept the focus on acting & dialogue alone, Unlike the follow up play (Laramie 10 yrs on) done by Red Stitch theatre earlier this year @ arts centre. As magical as it was the props were a bit distracting on that play. As a play format this one covered more emotional states: Pathos aplenty (tears among the audience) & a fuller experience all round ….. what a great night @ the theatre ! Congratulations one & all!! All of u should go see this as It surely would be a sin to kill this mockingbird!!!"
"The way that Chris Baldock directed The Laramie Project places huge demands on the actors, and they have risen to it admirably. The pared-back stage lets you really hear what is being said and, my goodness, it is chilling and heart-breaking to hear."
"I wanted to express how well put together I thought the production was. From every angle I feel that you executed the play perfectly. I am often weary of going to see theatre that is 3 hours long. It generally goes badly. I was not bored for a moment during the show. In fact it flew by. Aside from the terrific group of actors that you had on board and the great material you had to work with, I thought it was orchestrated brilliantly. I knew a few of the cast members before hand and was very excited to see them performing in such a top quality show."
"Brought a big crew to see it and they were ALL so impressed, so moved and so full of praise for the show...every aspect of it. There were some in the group who have barely seen theatre to people who see multiple shows a week and across the board it was a standout experience. PS I shouldn't have bothered wearing make-up, was crying by the end of the first act. It's such a rare and beautiful thing in life to be able to allow yourself to be affected by something. The simplicity and honesty of the play and the performers meant you were free to just feel the collective joy, humour, sorrow, sympathy and humanity in the room, from the performers to the audience in the dark. So glad I got to share in the experience that is the Laramie Project. Thank you."