Laramie Project Preview

By Britany Wright
October 25, 2007

Cabrini College students have spent countless days and weeks preparing a show about controversial issues. The theater will present “The Laramie Project” by Moisés Kaufman. This play looks at the issues of homosexuality, homophobia, the death penalty and hate crimes. The show will be premiering on Nov.1.

In fact the head writer of the increasingly popular play throughout college campuses will be coming to Cabrini College on Nov. 7. Leigh Fondakowski, the head writer of the controversial play “The Laramie Project,” is planning to be on campus Nov. 7 and 8. She will have dinner with members of the theater program, including the actors, stage crew members and the directors that are involved in the project. She is planning to stay for a performance by the Cabrini Theater.

“The Laramie Project” is a play about a young man who died traumatically at an early age of 21. In 1998 Matthew Shepard, a homosexual resident of Laramie, Wyo., spent a night at a bar celebrating the fact that he could drink legally. While he was in the bar two other young men, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, offered Shepard a ride. The next morning Shepard was found against a fence, brutally murdered. Both McKinney and Henderson were charged with being involved in the murder of Shepard.

The play addresses Shepard’s death through over 200 interviews from residents in Laramie who knew him or were affected by his death.

Four weeks after the death of Shepard nine members of the Tectonic Theater Project began to conduct these interviews for a year and a half.

In that year and a half they created the play and decided that instead of writing the words for the people who lived there, they would just play the residents as characters. The monologues and conversations that the characters have are the true words of the residents.

“The Laramie Project” is a play that teaches a lesson about the dangers of hate crimes. It is a heart-wrenching play to watch as the characters are real and have a message to tell the audience. By seeing this play the Cabrini community will see the value of a more tolerant society.

Dr. Thomas Stretton, assistant professor of education, is returning as theater director this year.

Performance dates are on Nov. 1, 2, 3 and Nov. 8, 9, 10 and 11. Tickets are going fast so it’s best to get tickets as soon as possible to see this performance.

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Britany Wright

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