The Laramie Project, Moises Kaufman’s landmark play which focuses on the effects of the beating and subsequent death of gay University of Colorado student Matthew Shepard on the town of Laramie, Wyoming opens this week at Hole in the Wall Theater in New Britain. We are proud to bring this unique piece of living-newspaper theater to life at time when hate crime is back in the news and on the rise in America. In this series of interviews, we will speak with the cast and the director of The Laramie Project and get some insight into what it’s like to portray actual, living people whose views sometimes differ from those held by the actor portraying the role, what it’s like to play multiple characters, and other cool stuff.
And now, meet Mark Lindo:
What characters do you play in the show?
I play Doc O’Connor , Stephen Belber , Stephen Mead Johnson , DJ Shadow, Juror, Newsperson , Jeffery Lockwood
What’s your favorite thing about theater?
My favorite thing about theater would be the ability you have to honestly express yourself and project your voice, it’s kind of it’s own beast compared to being on camera
What’s your favorite role to date?
I’ve got to say Doc O’Connor. I really get to step out of my comfort zone and bring this character to life with his own accent and mannerisms, polar opposite to the way i speak normally.
Have you worked at Hole in the Wall before? If so, what shows have you done here?
This will be my first show at HITW
What made you audition for The Laramie Project?
I recently got back from an audition in New York with the blue man group, after getting a callback and traveling going through the process i unfortunetly didn’t get it. I wanted to give up on acting, and then saw the oppurtunity to read for this powerful play.. Gave it a shot, and now I’m granted the oppurtunity to be a part of something truly special
What effect have hate crimes had on your life?
Well, as a man of color myself, I can say I’ve been through discrimination and unfortunetly on some accounts even seen it. I don’t stand for it, whatever your race, gender, or however you decide to express yourself, I believe it is important as a human being to live their lives in this world as they are and not have to worry about if they can walk down the street without being judged. It happens, but if i can do anything to help make the world a better place for all of us I’ll do just that. Im excited to tell the story of Matthew Shepard and i think everyone should see this.
Why do you think The Laramie Project is important to produce in the current state of America?
I find it imperative that this story is told especially in our current state. Not only because of its raw and authentic nature, but people can see on a first hand account how this treatment and behavior affects people, the cast does a good job at bringing their own unique piece to each characters expression, and i couldn’t ask for a better time for this story to be told.
What does it feel like to portray real, living people? Do you feel a stronger sense of responsibility knowing these are not made-up characters?
Absolutely, you get the vibe where you want to do it right, while at the same time want to give these characters some appeal for the show, I think the director does a good job at keeping us all balanced
Do you play any characters whose beliefs differ from yours? Is it difficult to portray them fairly and without judgment?
Yes in fact i do.. After reading for one of my characters i thought “oh boy what is my mom gonna say” as a Unitarian minister.. Growing up in a Christian household it definetly made it tricky as to how i would approach it all.. But as an Actor you have to adjust, and this play is beautiful.
In one sentence: what is The Laramie Project about?
Real life accounts on the tragedy and death of an innocent Gay young man, taken place in Laramie Wyoming.
Thanks, Mark — we look forward to catching you and your fellow cast members this Friday night. Stay tuned for more cast interviews!