A play worth watching

Feature Photo By: Karissa March – An RHS student poses showing the back of his shirt displaying the logo for The Laramie Project. APA Drama students took a trip to Laramie, Wyoming earlier this month to visit key locations in the Matthew Shepard case.

By: Karissa March, Review Staff

The Laramie Project is a play that delved into the story of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man from the town of Laramie, Wyoming who was tragically beaten, tortured, and left to die in a hate crime. The play premiered Thursday night with a twist on your average school play, with the audience set on the stage surrounding the center where the APA Drama Class acted.

This thought-provoking play follows the tragic details of Matthew Shepard’s last night alive and the trial of his murderers. Writer Moisés Kaufman, played by sophomore Cory Anthony, and members of the Tectonic Theater Project travelled to Laramie after the incident to interview over 200 townspeople. 

A bench with a plaque memorializing the life of Matthew Shepard sits in Laramie, Wyoming. Rangeview theater students visited Laramie to visit sites like this before the show was performed last week. (Yucheng Zhang)

Much of the play was interview style with the townspeople being questioned about the events of this fateful night. It is an emotional roller-coaster leaving the audience feeling introspective, angry, heartbroken, and motivated to be a part of change.

“It was really good,” said senior Justina Koukeokingthale, “It was very emotional and I could see how the actors could connect and it really made me think.”

Cast members had to be very skillful and quick between scenes as they were sat at the back of the stage, facing the audience, and making frequent costume changes for each of their several roles.

According to Kuleni Abdo (12), there were no understudies for the show and when a cast member unexpectedly couldn’t make it, seniors Jared Wolfe and Kaleb Hacker had to take on extra roles and learn new lines about three hours before call.

The subject matter of this play tackles homophobia and hate crimes with no apologies. It could be difficult to watch at times, for some viewers, because of the feelings of desperation and helplessness that it invokes. Listening to the testimony of Matthew’s murderers was disturbing and frustrating to hear because of their lack of remorse for the brutal way that they killed him.

“As a Muslim woman it’s so common to be afraid of your life and how society will treat or think of you so it was easy to connect with my character…” said Abdo who played a local feminist Muslim woman from Laramie. “It’s sad because no one should ever feel this way in a country made from freedom in religion, in 2017.”

If you missed last week’s performances there will be an additional show this Friday November 3rd at 7pm. All tickets will be $5 so make sure to preorder them through a cast member.

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