The Upper School spring production of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later was recently featured in The Moorestown Sun:
“I feel as though there is a story that still needs to be told – and healing to accomplish. Much of what the play addresses is still relevant today and will be until equality is achieved. I directed the first part, the original Laramie Project, in 2005, so this is our ‘10 years later’ moment, too,” Gornto said.
The Laramie Project is a play written by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project about the reaction to the 1998 murder of University of Wyoming gay student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, WY. Ten years after Shepard’s murder, members of Tectonic Theater Project returned to Laramie to conduct follow-up interviews with residents featured in the play. Those interviews were turned into a companion piece entitled The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later. The play consists of a number of interviews, compiled together in “moments,” during the company members’ return visit to Laramie 10 years after the original play. This epilogue tracks what has, or has not, changed in the town 10 years after the murder.
“It is interesting that this play is not just a story, but different people’s moments,” said senior David White, who is playing a retired cop and a conservative Republican.
“It is very interesting to see the effects that this crime and the aftermath had on his friends, family, the community, the murderers themselves and even people he only met a few times,” said senior Brandon Beach, who is playing one of Shepard’s murderers.
The cast of the show felt The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later is an important piece, not only because of the issues of hate crime, gay marriage and laws, but because this is all based on the real facts and people involved. Everything in the play is based on interviews the Tectonic Theater Project conducted, showing both sides of the story and how the afterward affected Laramie.
“They show the other side, they show that they are normal people, they aren’t just evil. I feel like this show is not written in an opinionated way; this is everyone’s opinions. You’ll learn opinions, truths and facts, but you need to decide for yourself what you feel about it,” said senior Pilar Martinez, who is playing two women, one being gay.
Martinez also said she was there for the original performance of The Laramie Project at MFS and it is what got her into theater. She felt the performance was breathtaking and really showed her what it took to be an actor.
“I do love the show. I was here when they did the original Laramie Project and I can tell you, it was very moving, which made me very excited to work on this show,” Martinez said.
“I just think this show is so important, and I’m grateful that Mr. Gornto isn’t afraid to take on the challenge of these important issues that can be very difficult to talk about. I think you have to look at the dark parts of human nature to really learn from it, and I think Mr. Gornto does a very good job of doing that; he’s not afraid to talk about these issues,” said senior Luke Bianco,who is playing one of Shepard’s murderers as well as a Republican with a gay daughter. “I think this show forces the audience to focus on these ideas because history can repeat itself, and if we don’t learn from it, then it’s just going to happen again.”
The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later was performed at the MFS auditorium on Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7.