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  WINDY CITY TIMES

THE LARAMIE PROJECT
With the country still reeling from the events of Sept. 11, the term "hate crime" has taken on new, and global, proportions. But the sad truth is that the loss of one life can speak for the terror and harm wrought on many. The 1998 murder of university st
by Rick Reed
2001-10-17

This article shared 1063 times since Wed Oct 17, 2001
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With the country still reeling from the events of Sept. 11, the term "hate crime" has taken on new, and global, proportions. But the sad truth is that the loss of one life can speak for the terror and harm wrought on many. The 1998 murder of university student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wy., has become a symbol for hatred and intolerance throughout the world, and especially within the gay and lesbian community.

Next Theatre, a small but powerful force in Chicago theater, will present the effect Shepard's death had on the community of Laramie with The Laramie Project, opening Nov. 12 in Evanston at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes Street. Written by Moisés Kaufman and members of The Tectonic Theater Project, it will be directed by Next Theatre Artistic Director Kate Buckley, known for her deft ensemble direction of past Next Theatre productions of The Incident, Among The Thugs, and Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been.

The Laramie Project is a moving and inspiring theatrical experience based on the events surrounding the 1998 murder. Without dramatizing the murder, or introducing Matthew Shepard as a character, the play tells the story of a small town coming to terms with fear, hate and love. Playwright Kaufman, the author of Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, set out with his troupe of actor/writers to Laramie, Wy., to conduct a series of interviews of the townspeople of Laramie in the aftermath of the horrendous death of Matthew Shepard, a gay local college student at the University of Wyoming. After briefly befriending two young men, Shepard was abducted and brutally beaten to death and left to die tied to a fence. The hate crime catapulted the nation into a media frenzy and sparked a rallying cry for the passage of state and federal hate-crime legislation. The Laramie Project is the result of more than 200 interviews with the town's citizens. The play has been called "captivating, vivid and profoundly moving" as it lays bare not just the experience of this small town's recovery from brutality but the very landscape of the American conscience.

The Laramie Project opens Monday, Nov. 12, 2001 and closes Dec. 16, 2001. Ticket prices range from $18-$28. For tickets, or more information, phone ( 847 ) 475-1875 or visit the website www.nexttheatre.org .


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