Friday, December 17, 2010

Northern VA high school (Langley) performs "The Laramie Project"

On Friday, Dec. 17 and Saturday Dec. 18, Langley High School in McLean, Virginia is presenting “The Laramie Project”, by Moises Kaufman, directed by Lauren Stewart and Phyliss Jafee, with members of the Tectonic Theater Project, on the Saxon Stage.

I attended the performance this evening. I had substitute taught at Langley as recently as the spring of 2007, so there was a personal sense of déjà vu. The Matthew Shepard Foundation was conducting a silent auction. Thomas Howard, Program Director, conducted a Q&A. He started by asking the audience in what ways McLean as like Laramie. The audience was silent for a moment, before students started to respond.


I mentioned the cloture vote in the Senate on “don’t ask don’t tell” due Saturday, with applause, and said that official attitudes of the Congress and the US military (and the Pope) affect attitudes in general.

I may have mentioned here before that I passed through Laramie myself on Aug. 7, 1994 (before the tragedy), the day after I had made the personal decision to write my “Do Ask Do Tell” book and had spent the previous night in Cheyenne.

The stage was extremely wide, with the 25 actors (many having multiple roles), spread out, giving very much a “dolby digital” effect. The centerpiece of the stagecraft was the notorious fencepost.

The second half of the play was longer and more dramatic, ending with the “trials” (at which the “panic defense”, with some explicit language -- “junk” -- was brought up). The Fred Phelps demonstration as acted in the play came down the right aisle, and the angels came down the center.

The script mentions that Matthew was kept warm for a while by a female deer.

Howard mentioned that Kaufman has a sequel script, “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later” in which it seems many town residents have distanced themselves from the atrocity and see it as a Coen Brothers-movie-style drug deal gone bad. (See Nov. 14 posting for video.)

The Laramie Project has this link.

Tectonic Theater has this link.

The Matthew Shepard Foundation has this link

Howard said that Phelps’s Westboro Baptist Church had “threatened” to picket Saturday night in the winter cold (23 F according to my car in the parking lot as I left), but he doubted they would show up.



(Note: typo spelling error in blog posting header name, fixed in display, does not matter).

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