Actors to play multiple roles in winter ‘Laramie Project’

By Jessica Barzilay and Jamie Chang

The director of “The Laramie Project,” this year’s winter theater production, plans to cast 16 students for more than 50 roles.

Instead of auditioning each actor or actress for a specific part, director and drama teacher Ted Walch will assign eight boys and eight girls multiple roles based on his overall impression of their audition performance.

“Laramie” follows the reaction to the 1998 murder of a homosexual student, Mathew Shephard. The play “deals with an important question,” Walch said.

“I feel it gives more students an opportunity to play substantial roles,” he said.

One aspect of the play that sets it apart is that “every word in the play is real,” Walch said.

The play’s dialogue consists entirely of interviews, journals and news reports by the inhabitants of Laramie, Wyo.

The play’s drama unfolds in three acts, all in the aftermath of Shepherd’s murder.

Autumn Chiklis ’12, who played Tzeitel, the eldest daughter, in the large cast of fall’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” sees both pros and cons in the choice to cast 16 players in more than 50 roles.

“With such a small cast, a lot of people wouldn’t get the opportunity to be in it, but those 16 people have an unbelievable chance to pull off something incredible,” Chiklis said.