Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

October 15, 2013

The Laramie Project exits stage left

By JOSH VARDAMAN
Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — The final curtain has closed on the play that seemed to cause quite a stir around the Ottumwa community.

The Laramie Project held its fourth and final showing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night at Bridge View Center and was greeted with plenty of emotion after the final scene. Over 650 people came to see the show at its four screen times, and according to Dale Dommer, who helped direct the play, the audiences were very responsive and moved.

Ottumwa High School drama teacher Natalie Saunders echoed Dommer's feelings, saying, “It left people in tears and had a standing ovation each night."

Saunders explained the various amounts of positive remarks about the play, mentioning plenty of Facebook posts and other social media comments from people near and far who came to see the production. Dommer also spoke about the generous remarks from audience members, citing several that commented “thank you for doing this,” and “it wasn’t what I thought it would be.”

The play was not received well by OHS officials, who banned the play from being performed by the school’s drama department. Since the production was not allowed at the high school, the play was held at Bridge View Center under the co-direction of Dommer and Saunders.

Now that the play has run its course, Dommer is ready to hear the voice of community members about the production as a whole and the fact that it was not allowed at the school auditorium. He says one of the many comments he heard many times from audience members was “I can’t believe it wasn’t at the high school.”

There was also a silent auction in the lobby during the play, where Broadway posters and other goodies were given away. All of the posters were donated by members of several Broadway plays and were signed by many of the cast members. The proceeds from the auction, approximately $800, will be given to the Stand Up and Speak group at OHS.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh