A breathtaking and powerful theatrical production is taking over the Rosebud Theatre.
The Laramie Project is based on the kidnapping, beating and killing of Matthew Sheppard in 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming.
"Matthew Sheppard was a young university student who was gay and was kidnapped by two other young guys. He was taken out to the outskirts of Laramie, tied to a fence, beaten badly and left to die, which he did a few days later,"explained Paul Muir, the play's director..
"This event became kind of a poster child, kind of iconic and connected to the idea of hate crimes. In fact, it was the motivation for a lot of hate crime legislation that followed it in the United States and world wide. 1998 is when this happened and that's almost 20 years ago. Although I do think things have changed a lot in our collective perspective and acceptance of the LBGTQ community, what we still come face to face with is a real distrust and hatred towards any kind of group that we maybe don't understand or don't connect with."
Back in 1998, members of the original script writers spent time in Laramie gathering real interviews and real stories to make the play as true to the facts as possible.
"The play is actually word for word representative of what they collected in these interviews. You get a real cross-section of opinions, viewpoints and perspectives on this event on hatred (and) on gay lifestyle," Muir outlined. "It's an awful story. What happened to Matthew Sheppard was absolutely horrific. We have a recommendation of 14 plus on the show in terms of age wise. It is a recommendation, but (it's all) depending on the child and the conversation the parent can have with the child,"
Muir mentioned that there are 66 characters in the play that are portrayed by 13 actors.
"The Laramie Project opened on Saturday,April 1 at Rosebud and runs until the 22nd of April on every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 4:30 in the afternoon, except for Good Friday.
"Although the event is horrific, it's not a play that dwells in despair or leaves you in despair. I actually believe that since there are so many perspectives presented, it offers up the situation, but it also says there is hope here, there is a way forward to be more inclusive and accepting; things can change."
Tickets are available through the Rosebud Theatre website or the theatrer box office, 1-800-267-7553. They can also be purchased at the door.
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