‘The Laramie Project’ opens May 9

‘The Laramie Project’ opens May 9By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

The Burroughs High School drama company class will perform “The Laramie Project” next week, opening Thursday, May 9.

The play was written in 2000 by Moises Kaufman, with members of the Tectonic Theater Project. The story focuses on the reaction to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyo.

Shepard was a gay University of Wyoming student whose killing was denounced as a hate crime, receiving national attention and ultimately leading to the Shepard/Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“The students in this particular class are as diverse in their personal experiences and socioeconomic backgrounds as they are in their political and religious views; they are reflective of their school, local, regional and national communities, which has made for many challenging and enlightening discussions in class as we worked on ‘The Laramie Project,’”said Drama Teacher Tristan Kratz.

“Yet in spite of their differences, these young adults are extremely attentive, empathetic and respectful toward each other and are genuinely interested in each other’s perspective. As diverse as their individual temperaments, personalities and beliefs are, they all agree on the basic premise that each and every person deserves to be seen and respected for their basic humanity.”

Kratz said her students dove into the project, doing the extensive script analysis, character development, and historical research required to do the play justice.

“These students were able to not only express their own thoughts, feelings, reactions, frustrations, concerns and hopes regarding the complex and difficult topics presented in ‘The Laramie Project’ with an impressive level of sensitivity and sophistication, but they tried to truly understand Laramie, Wyo., and everything that led to the horrific incident that is the focal point of this play: the death of Matthew Shepard,” said Kratz.

“They did the hard work to understand themselves, each other and society as a whole in the hopes that no other town will ever have to claim such hate, ignorance, intolerance, fear and violence as the legacy and story of Laramie,” she said. “I hope to see every seat in thehouse filled.”

Shows are at 6:30 p.m., May 9, 10 and 11 at the BHS Parker Performing Arts Center, with a 2 p.m. show on Saturday, May 11. Donations will be accepted at the door.

Story First Published: 2019-05-03