Epilogue to “The Laramie Project” to Premiere on Anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s Murder
The New York Times reports that nearly a decade after the premiere of “The Laramie Project”, the group that created it is preparing an 80 minute epilogue to the play that addressed how a town coped when they were put in the spotlight following the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, a college student who was murdered because he was gay.
Last year, members of the Tectonic Theater Project returned to Laramie, Wyoming, the site of murder, and re-interviewed the same people who took part in the original conversations on which the play was based.
The epilogue, titled “The Laramie Project – 10 Years Later”, explores the impact of the killings on Laramie, and the impact that it had on the dozens of people who were interviewed. In an attempt to defend their town, some of the people interviewed seemed to suggest that the incident was more complicated than a hate crime, while others said that the murderers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, were driven primarily by their disdain for gay people.
The members of Tectonic set out to reflect upon these different perspectives coming from the same community. Moisés Kaufman, the playwright and director of “The Laramie Project”, said, “It’s a fallacy to try to define Laramie the way one would describe an individual. There are 27,000 people in Laramie. There are at least 27,000 Laramies.”
During his time in Laramie last year, Kaufman interviewed McKinney, who, along with Henderson, is serving two consecutive life sentences. Kaufman declined to reveal the details of that particular interview, but did release a video with excerpts from some of the other interviews. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdopDbRo4cw[/youtube]
The play will debut on October 12, 2009, exactly eleven years after Shepard was murdered. Tectonic’s goal is to recruit 100 regional theaters, universities, and organizations to hold readings of the epilogue. Forty theaters have already signed on, including the Seattle Repertory Theater, the Berkeley Repertory Theater, and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. It is unclear whether or not there will be a performance in Laramie, but the Tectonic company will hold its performance at the Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center in Manhattan.