Creative Loafing’s 2020 Best of the Bay nominations have St. Petersburg College all over them! This includes SPC Theater Department’s performance of The Laramie Project, which was nominated for Best Theater Production for 2019-2020.
The Oct. 2019 performance documented the true story of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man from Laramie, Wyoming, who was kidnapped and murdered in a hate crime. The story is told in the voices of more than 200 Laramie townspeople, who were interviewed by the Tectonic Theater Project, who, along with playwright Moses Kaufman, crafted the play from those interviews.
SPC Theater Director Scott Cooper says this play is important, and will continue to be until something can be done about hate and violence aimed at the gay community.
“Matthew Shepard’s death and the subsequent trial of his killers has a real impact on the town of Laramie,” Cooper said. “And to see the ripples that this murder creates in the residents of this town is something that needs to be seen.”
Cooper said the challenges to this play were many, given the proximity of the audience, the fact that each actor is playing multiple characters, and the difficult subject matter.
“This cast was amazingly smart and empathetic,” he said. “We did it with the audience on stage surrounding the actors so they would be part of the play, and that is always a challenge. The actors had to deal with emotions that the play brought up in them – when they cried onstage, those were real tears.”
In addition to the Theater nomination, The Palladium also received nominations. Including the Palladium itself, its staff and artists who perform there, The Palladium is nominated for a whopping 38 different awards!
You can vote once per day from now through 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3. Reader’s Pick and Critic’s Pick winners will be revealed in the Best of the Bay issue on Thursday, Oct. 1.
Cooper said it’s an honor to be nominated, and noted that college theater productions aren’t usually among the nominees in this category.
“All of the other theater productions nominated were great, and it is wonderful to be in that kind of company,” he said. “We do great theater at SPC, and I look forward to getting back into the theater and telling more stories with these amazingly talented students.”