If you are looking for powerfully raw performances that stir emotion and provoke conversation, then do yourself a favour and go see The Laramie Project this October.
Written by Moises Kaufman (The Tectonic Theatre Group) and Directed by Gabi Harding (Wollongong Workshop Theatre), The Laramie Project is one hell of an emotional rollercoaster ride.
In a moving and touching performance you will gasp at the brutality in which an innocent young life was taken, but this is not where the story ends.
Told in a documentary style format, you will delve into the thoughts and feelings of a small town rocked by a horrific and senseless loss. You will feel the emotions seeping through.
It confronts the realities of violence and hate in a way that is intense, even infuriating, but extremely worthwhile.
As relevant now as it was in 1988, The Laramie Project is a complex and intelligent piece of work.
From the premature loss of an innocent life through to the aftermath of this tragic event, The Laramie Project is one you won’t easily forget.
It is a true story. These are the words of real people.
In October 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21 year old University of Wyoming student, was found tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming.
Matthew was severely beaten, robbed, tortured and left alone, to be discovered 18 hours later. He died five days afterwards. The reason for this brutal crime? Matthew Shepard was gay.
Five weeks after this horrific event, Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theatre Company travelled to Laramie Wyoming.
Over the course of the next year they conducted over 200 interviews with people of the town.
These Interviews, as well as journal entries and other found texts, form the basis of The Laramie Project.
‘After the tragic events of Orlando, this play became very real and something that needed to be done’ Director Gabi Harding said. ‘It’s sad to see that the very discussions that were being had in the events after Matthew’s death are recurring almost 20 years later.’
The play itself involves 11 cast members playing approximately 5- 6 characters each, embodying mannerisms and speech for each character transition.
‘The cast are fantastic. They have worked so hard in making the play and the people as real as possible. We have worked collaboratively in researching the event and the people involved to do the play justice.’ Harding said.
One of the trickier aspects of the play, is having to deal with some of the more confronting themes, scenes and viewpoints expressed in the play.
Being a verbatim piece, the cast and crew needed to understand that everything said in the play has been said by actual people caught up in the aftermath of Matthew’s death.
‘It has definitely been one of the trickiest parts of working on this show; separating what the actor believes and the person they are portraying. It’s important to remember that these aren’t characters, but instead actual people.
It’s been challenging for everyone to almost go back in time and put themselves into small town America with those small town ideals and thoughts’. Harding explained.
Wollongong Workshop Theatre is proud to present The Laramie Project, and have especially selected the dates of performance to coincide with when Matthew was found, (October 7th 1998) and the date he passed away. (October 12th 1998).
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm.
Sunday at 4pm.
$25 Adult | $20 concession
$5 from each ticket will be going to a LGBT charity.
Wollongong Workshop Theatre
Gipps Road, Gwynneville