The Berkeley Preparatory School Upper Division Department of Theatre program will present the Laramie Project to kick off the busy theatre season.
The story begins in October 1998, when Matthew Shepard, a 21-year old student at the University of Wyoming, was kidnapped, severely beaten, and left tied to a fence outside of the town of Laramie. He died several days later in an area hospital. He was a victim of this assault because he was gay. Members of the Tectonic Theater Project made six trips to Laramie over the course of the next year and a half during the trial of the two men accused of killing Matthew. They conducted over 200 interviews with the people of the town. The Laramie Project is a breathtaking collage of those interviews that explores the depths of humanity, the compassion of which we are capable, and how we relate to each other in a complicated world.
“The Laramie Project is a play about a town, about its people, and about recovery,” said Director Chris Marshall. “It’s a play about our identity as a culture, as factions of that culture, as individuals within those factions. Every word of this play was said by real people, most of it transcribed from taped interviews or copied from police or court documents.” Marshall explained that the challenge (and fun) of rehearsing this piece is how his young actors tell their stories. “Some of these people are researchable, others are not. We have worked as a company to try to understand them more through the text they provide and through their stories, rather than trying to ‘recreate’ them here through sheer imitation. We have done a ton of research, worked on physical shifts between characters, and tried to identify vocal patterns. It’s been a different kind of process: really hard, but really rewarding for us as a company.”
Please note: This production contains mature subject matter and is not intended for all audiences.
Performances: Thursday, October 17 at 7:00 p.m. Friday, October 18 at 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 19 at 7:00 p.m.
Founded in 1960, Berkeley is an independent Episcopal day school for boys and girls in Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12. Combining academic excellence with a spirit of social responsibility, Berkeley develops well-rounded individuals seeking to make a positive difference in the world.