Sunday, February 21, 2016

Photo Essay: Crew Watch for The Laramie Project

"What shocked me the most about attending crew watch was really seeing the people I work with on a daily basis produce so many different characters. The Laramie Project is a truly wild show for the amount of characters it has and for only fourteen actors putting that all together showcases the talent we have here at Bloomsburg. 

Pictured: Will Olsen as Jedadiah Schultz recounting his college audition. Sorcha Smith as Romaine Patterson as she remembers Matt by his smile. Josue Nieves playing Aaron Kreifels as he informs the audience there was nothing he could do for Matthew. Shelby Snyder and Carly Carman as they lighten the mood and drunkenly discuss Aaron McKinney. And finally, a fence as The Fence, which feels like a character on its own, as it is powerfully incorporated into this production. It may not be the fence in Laramie, Wyoming, but it emanates the powerful memory of Matthew Shepard and all the people impacted by his life and his story as it sits upstage watching the play unfold."

- Toni Carosella, Photographer and Theatre Major
"The Laramie Project" runs February 24-28 at the Alvina Krause Theatre in downtown Bloomsburg, PA. For more information, visit

Director’s Notes for The Laramie Project

Detail of The Laramie Project set. Photo by Toni Carosella.
"Drive west from Bloomsburg on I-80 for 1,636 miles, and you'll arrive in Laramie, WY. Both are small towns of long-time residents, situated among a rural landscape; both are home to a university attracting out-of-towners; both possess an All-American mix of blue and white collar jobs. And both have gay residents. I'm sure many of the straight members in today's audience are accepting of our fellow citizens who are gay. Others in the audience, though, may find the presence of gays in Bloomsburg troubling, or sinful. In that regard, American society today retains a similarity to 1998-2000, the time of Matthew Shepard's murder and the writing of The Laramie Project. In the nearly 20 years since then, has anything changed? Has there been progress in the struggle for acceptance of, and civil rights for, gays and lesbians?

Certainly on the legal front one could point to the federal Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (2009), the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (2011), and the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage (2015), and give a qualified “Yes!” But hate crime and discrimination legislation on the state (including Pennsylvania and Wyoming) and local levels are woefully lacking; and when it comes to the hearts and minds of average Americans, there is still work to be done. Just recall the Kentucky county clerk who refused to grant same sex marriage because of “religious freedom”, or local businesses nationwide who deny service to gays and lesbians. This reveals how fragile and misunderstood the LGBTQ movement is in America, not to mention the violence done to gays outside our country, in Africa, Russia and elsewhere.

The Laramie Project examines these questions as two communities –the Laramie residents and the members of the Tectonic Theatre Project from New York- learn about themselves and each other in response to the brutal murder of Matthew. Now drive east on I-80 for 1,636 miles and check out Bloomsburg. Should a hate murder occur in our community, how would we respond? With examination, or a cover-up? With outrage, or harassment? These questions keep The Laramie Project from being a period piece. Its enduring relevancy is a call for vigilance against hate. Healing and progress are possible."

- Jim Goode, Director of The Laramie Project 

BU Players' production of The Laramie Project runs February 24 through 28. Days and times, as well as ticket information, at

Friday, February 19, 2016

Photo Essay: Load-in for The Laramie Project

"Of what I took that day, I enjoyed these because they are all depictions of collaboration within the line of theatre. Theatre doesn't happen without other people coming together. There's Kyle and Donald carrying a table together, Kyle and Sara figuring out the gels, an overview of everyone painting the stage together, and an up-close snap of Bailey and Kate doing so. Collaboration was screaming at my camera that day and I couldn't help but capture it. That leads me to the collaboration of the Tectonic Theater Project and all of those who worked together to create The Laramie Project. And even the people of Laramie that collaborated on both the project and on attempting to help Laramie move forward from the day Matthew Shepherd was murdered. Collaboration is important for the human soul. We cannot survive without collaboration and neither can theatre."
- Toni Carosella, Photographer and Theatre Major

"The Laramie Project" runs February 24-28 at the Alvina Krause Theatre in downtown Bloomsburg, PA. For more information, visit