The Huntington High School drama club will stage a production of The Laramie Project this fall. Auditions will be held shortly after classes begin early next month with rehearsals to follow. The curtain will go up for three separate performances on November 4-5.
The play tells the story of one of the most infamous hate crimes in US history. “In October 1998 in the middle of the prairie outside Laramie, Wyoming, Matthew Shepard, a 21 year old student at the University of Wyoming, was tied to a fence post, severely beaten, robbed, tortured and left, alone, to die,” said Michael Schwendemann, a Huntington High School English teacher who is the drama club’s faculty advisor. “His body, battered, bloody and barely clinging to life was discovered 18 hours later. He was rushed to the hospital and put on life support. He died five days later. The reason for this brutal crime? Matthew Shepard was gay. The hate crime attracted vast attention worldwide, bringing sexual discrimination and violence to the forefront of public discourse.”
Auditions will be begin on Monday, September 13 in the high school auditorium. Actors should prepare a one minute dramatic monologue. Once the cast has been chosen, rehearsals will commence.
Huntington English teacher
and drama club advisor Mike Schwendemann.
“The Tectonic Theater Project, led by Moisés Kaufman, traveled to Laramie in the aftermath of the murder with the intent of creating a theatrical portrait of a town coming to grips with horrible, hate-fueled violence,” Mr. Schwendemann said. “Over the course of a year and a half, the group interviewed over 200 subjects, some directly related to the case and some regular citizens of Laramie. From these interviews, journal entries and found texts, The Laramie Project was born. Hailed as one of the most captivating and encompassing pieces of contemporary theatre, the play shocks, challenges, and moves all who watch it as it reveals the lowest depths of hatred and greatest heights of compassion that lies within all human beings in any seemingly average community.”
Mr. Schwendemann said the hard-hitting play is rated PG-13. “The Laramie Project is for mature audiences as it contains strong language and subject matter,” he added. “This play contains hate speech that may be inappropriate for children under 13.”
Shows are scheduled for Friday, November 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday November 5 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door.