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‘The Laramie Project: Ten Years After’ opens March 3, uses interviews to tell story behind murder

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March 1, 2016

The College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University theater department is producing the play, "The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later." 

The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. March 3-5, 2 p.m. March 6 and 7:30 p.m. March 10-12 at the Colman Theater, Benedicta Arts Center, CSB. 

The Tectonic Theater in New York created a play called "The Laramie Project" from interviews with people after the murder of Matthew Shepard, a young man who was killed in 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming, supposedly because he was gay. 

Due in part to the graphic nature of his death, people from around the country cited this incident as a hate crime and rallied in support of gay rights. 

"The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later" looks at the community still confused by the gruesome killing. This is a new play based on new interviews asking people from Laramie how they felt about the murder 10 years later after new facts had come to light. 

Moisés Kaufman adapted both plays from the recorded interviews. 

"One intriguing aspect of the more recent play is the fact the residents of Laramie seem to be struggling to find the 'real' truth behind the murder," said CSB/SJU professor of theater Kaarin Johnston, who is directing the show. "The play calls into question the notion of historical truth and asks how much of our own history is a product which we, ourselves, create." 

The play will feature photographs of Laramie as well as pre-recorded video and live video that Johnston says should help provide a visual background for the text. 

The CSB/SJU production will consist of 10 students (nine of which are first-years and sophomores) who play more than 50 characters. The play was written for five actors, but Johnston said the choice was made to use 10 actors for the CSB/SJU production. 

The stage manager is SJU senior Elliot Drolet and the lighting design is by CSB senior Jessica Davis. 

Tickets for the play are $7 for students, staff, faculty and seniors and $10 for the public. Students also can get credit for Fine Arts Experience (FAE).