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Keystone College and the Dietrich Theater present The Laramie Project

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Posted: 03/18/2014

Laramie Project

In 1998, the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student, pushed the small town of Laramie, Wyoming into the national spotlight. Now Keystone College and the Dietrich Theater are bringing the story of Matthew and his community to their stages with a live co-production of The Laramie Project. Based on over 200 interviews conducted by the Tectonic Theater Project in the tragedy’s aftermath, The Laramie Project is a relevant, unwavering portrait of a town in crisis. Barreling head-on into the issues of prejudice, intolerance, justice and small town life, the play breaks hearts but still entertains in a light-hearted way, exhibiting the strength present in small communities everywhere, from Laramie to northeastern Pennsylvania. 

Co-directors Jane Julius Honchell, Keystone College’s Director of Theatre, and Jennifer Jenkins, Executive Director of the Dietrich Theater, have joined forces to bring this timely play to two stages for two weekends. Performances on Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 5 at 7 p.m. and Sunday April 6 at 2 p.m. will be at Keystone College’s Theatre at Brooks, and performances on Friday, April 11 at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 12 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 13 at 2 p.m. will be staged at the Dietrich Theater. After the final performance on Sunday, April 13, a discussion will be held at the Dietrich with the cast and crew, facilitated by Dr. Marnie Hiester, professor of psychology at Misericordia University, and Dr. James Calderone, professor of social work at Misericordia University.

Although The Laramie Project depicts the reverberations of Matthew Shepard’s devastating attack, audiences can expect upbeat moments, victories, and perspectives that approach the tragedy from all angles. Laramie residents are undeniably an eclectic bunch, and with characters ranging from college teens to seventy-somethings, the collaboration of college students with community actors makes for a diverse show. A compilation of voices, this ensemble piece features over 70 characters, ensuring that the cast of 19 actors is kept busy. Scene changes, props and technical elements are minimally present to better emphasize the work’s interview-based dialogue and the personalities of the real-life people it represents.

Tickets for The Laramie Project are $10 each, or $5 for students and seniors, and can be reserved by calling the venue at which patrons plan to attend performances. Call (570) 945-8454 to reserve tickets to the April 4, 5 and 6 performances at Keystone College, or call (570)996-1500 for reservations to the April 11, 12 and 13 performances at the Dietrich Theater. This production of The Laramie Project was supported by a Lackawanna County Community Arts and Culture Grant, a program of Lackawanna County Commissioners Corey D. O’Brien, Jim Wansacz and Patrick M. O’Malley. Funding grants for The Laramie Project were also provided by the M & T Charitable Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. For more information, call (570) 996-1500.

Photo caption: (Left to right) Alexsandra Pomeroy, Joshua Harris

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