Behind the Scenes of ‘The Laramie Project’ at Marquette University

By Chester Loeffler-Bell

Lighting design for the Laramie Project production at Marquette University

Lighting design for the Laramie Project production at Marquette University

Getting the lighting design ready for the Marquette University Department of Performing Arts production of The Laramie Project by Moises Kauffman and the Tectonic Project is a challenge. As a designer, I try to find an emotional arc or journey within a play. I attempt to connect important or emotional dots and try and tell a story with the lighting design.

The challenge with Laramie is EVERY character and the story they tell is important. Each time I read it, and now after seeing a run through, I take away something different.

Fortunately, the director of the play is Deb Krajec. She is an excellent collaborator, and by working together, I am confident the look of the play will evolve into a work of dramatic beauty.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not worried about the play coming together. Under Deb’s hand, and with an excellent design team, and more importantly with a committed student cast and staff, this play will be a highlight of our season.

But we have an added logistical challenge. While the play is scheduled to open February 24, we are ramping up the process so we can have a polished dress rehearsal for scholarship weekend students to see Friday night, February 18.

This is a project that will change, grow and perhaps head in many directions, some good, some bad. I’ve decided to heed the advice of Broadway lighting designer Jules Fisher, who said at the  Broadway Lighting Master Class, (even though Laramie isn’t a musical), “you don’t finish lighting a musical, you just stop.”

Chester Loeffler Bell is an artistic assistant professor in the Performing Arts Department at Marquette University. He is currently involved in the campus production of “The Laramie Project.”

2 Responses to “Behind the Scenes of ‘The Laramie Project’ at Marquette University”


  1. 1 scott February 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Can’t wait to see!


  1. 1 The Laramie Project Finally Opens | CLB's Thoughts, Ideas, Essays and Stories Trackback on February 28, 2011 at 2:26 pm

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The opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of Marquette University or the Diederich College of Communication.

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