“Letters From The Front” by Nick Wood is a staged reading of a new play to be performed starting at 7 p.m. on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 in the Laramie County Community College Playhouse.
Wood is an LCCC employee in Plant Operations and a Navy veteran who said he took his first acting class at the college in 2015. This led to getting the lead role in the fall 2015 production “Rounding Third,” a play by Richard Dresser. He was also involved in “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later,” the play presented in the LCCC Playhouse last fall.
“Letters From The Front” explores the stories told from veterans of their experiences during deployment.
Wood said there was a contest open to veterans to create a play, put on by a non-profit agency, and that’s how the play’s production began.
“It really came about because I had a friend I had been doing sports with for about a year,” Wood said. “He saw one of my Navy tattoos and he came up to me telling me all his Army stories, I had no idea he was even in the Army.”
Wood said many of his friends who were in combat didn’t talk much about their experiences, so he told them he’d keep their identities confidential to help them open up and tell him their stories.
“It [the play] follows six people from a small town in Minnesota,” Wood said.
LCCC theater instructor Jason Pasqua read the play Wood had put together and offered advice as well as guidance on what to do with the play moving forward.
“I said, ‘let’s do it as a staged reading,’” Pasqua said. “A staged reading is a way of producing a play, but not fully produced. Meaning, we’re not going to have fully realized costumes, not a fully realized set, music, sound or lights; our focus is on the text.”
Despite not having a full set, Pasqua said there will still be a physical environment applied to the staged reading. The reading takes place in a bar, so rather than an empty stage, there will be a collection of tables and chairs to help simulate that kind of environment.
According to Wood, in order for the play to be considered for the contest, it can’t be produced. By having scripts in the actors’ hands, it would be considered a workshop. Thus, it is eligible for entry.
Wood said he would like to expand the reading into a fully produced play at some point in the future.