Point Boro Woman Wins Acting Award
Outstanding Supporting Actress Flach Wins for performance in "Laramie Project" at OCC
On Sept. 18, Ashley Jeanne Flach, of Point Borough, won the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play at the Perry Awards ceremony in Somerset.
The award recognized Flach for her performance in Ocean County College Theater Company’s spring production of “The Laramie Project.”
Flach said she was grateful to win the award and for the recognition for the work put into the show by her and her fellow cast mates.
“I really feel that we won,” she said. “It wasn’t about me. It was such a collaborative piece and we all played such a big part of the process. I can’t take credit for it; it’s our win.”
Ultimately, however, Flach said she owed still a bigger debt to another. “The Laramie Project” tells of the impact a hate crime has on a rural community in Wyoming after a young man, Matthew Shepard, was beaten and left hanging from a fence to die, solely because he was homosexual.
“It’s really all about Matthew,” Flach said.
Paraphrasing a line spoken by another actor’s character from the show, she continued, “My first thought was thank God I got to do this show. My second thought was thank you, Matthew.”
A unique piece of documentary theater written by Moises Kaufman and the members of the Tectonic Theater Project, “The Laramie Project” calls for eight actors to portray more than sixty characters.
The Ocean County College Theater Company’s production, directed by Arthur Waldman, added a ninth actor to take the lines of the narrator to aid in clarifying the performance.
“We were thrilled Ashley won,” Waldman said. “It’s hard to win, there are so many nominations. Her performance was wonderful. She’s a natural and she really throws herself into her performance.”
Flach portrayed eight characters, most notably Laramie policewoman Reggie Fluty – the first law enforcement officer on the scene – and Shannon, a male friend of the two men who beat Matthew.
Flach, a student at OCC, had previously acted in shows such as “Black Nativity,” at the Count Basie Theater and “Scenes from an American Life,” also at OCC.
She will appear in the current production at OCC, “Book of Ages,” which opens Oct. 27.
This was the first award Flach has won for acting.
The Perry Awards, hosted by the NJ Association of Community Theaters, are presented annually to recognize excellence in community theater.
According to president Patrick Starega, there are more than 150 member theaters across the state eligible to have shows reviewed by NJACT reviewers.
Last year, NJACT reviewed more than 225 performances; 46 different shows received at least on nomination, said Starega.
Now approaching its 40th year, the Perry Awards, begun in 1973 by Perry Morgan – for whom the awards are named – attract a crowd of nearly 700 guests each year for the awards ceremony. The NJACT can be visited at www.njact.org.
“The Laramie Project” received three nominations: Flach and Jennifer Baranowski both received nominations for Supporting Actress; Judi Madigan was nominated for Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play.
Brick resident Baranowski said of Flach’s award, “I was so happy for Ashley because she deserved to win and our show deserved to be recognized in some way.”
At the end of the play, characters reflect on the stars twinkling over Laramie that were the last things Matthew saw.