Swampscott High Drama students will talk about hurt, hate and heart this week at a forum and in stage presentations revolving around the Laramie Project.
The Laramie Project is a play crafted from hundreds of interviews in Laramie, Wyoming after the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay University of Wyoming student.
Tonight's forum, titled Erase Hate, is at 7 p.m. at the high school.
The forum seeks change by talking about the play's meaning. Panelists will talk about how they erase hate in their lives.
The play itself will be presented Friday and Saturday nights, Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. in the Swampscott High auditorium.
Swampscot High drama students have been working on the Laramie Project since September, said Director James Pearse.
Two weeks ago, at a rehearsal in the school auditorium, students worked diligently on their lines and presentations.
Two or three students at a time stood on the sparsely set stage, facing the audience as they spoke.
Director James Pearse reminded the students that it was important for them to deliver their lines as written. They were based, verbatim, on interviews.
Below the stage in the first row, two assistant directors, students, prompted the actors and corrected lines when needed.
To the sides of the stage, actors awaiting their turns under the lights leaned over their Laramie Project scripts, reading diligently.
They looked like readers engrossed in novels, but pouring over lines and, no doubt, getting a feel for the personalities of the people who originally spoke the words.
The director says The Laramie Project is, in some ways, like the play Our Town.
The Laramie Project includes a multitude of voices — from townspeople to university people to media people, and from young people to older people — expressing sadness, outrage, ignorance, disbelief, shame and compassion as they respond to a murder and hate crime in their backyard.
Matthew Shepard's captors kidnapped and tortured and left him tied to a fence overnight. Days later he died in the hospital.
He was the victim of the assault because he was gay.
More Information about the Laramie Project:
Moises Kaufman and fellow members of the Tectonic Theater Project made six trips to Laramie over the course of a year and a half in the aftermath of the beating and during the trial of the two young men accused of killing Shepard. They conducted more than 200 interviews with the people of the town. Some people interviewed were directly connected to the case, and others were citizens of Laramie, and the breadth of their reactions to the crime is fascinating. Kaufman and Tectonic Theater members have constructed a deeply moving theatrical experience from these interviews and their own experiences. The Laramie Project is a breathtaking theatrical collage that explored the depths to which humanity can sink and the heights of compassion of which we are capable.
Swampscott High School Drama Club The Laramie Project Disclaimer: The Laramie Project is for mature audiences only as it contains strong language and subject matter. During the year and a half development of the play, members of the Tectonic Theater Company conducted interviews with the people of Laramie, Wyoming where gay University of Wyoming student, Matthew Shepard, was murdered. This script is a verbatim compilation of these interviews. Audience members under seventeen must be accompanied by a parent/guardian or have a signed permission form, available at the high school. Students and young adults seventeen and older will be asked for identification.