The Laramie Project

First performed 10 years ago (and soon thereafter on HBO), The Laramie Project was developed from more than 200 interviews with Laramie locals affected, directly and indirectly, by the 1998 slaying of gay college student Matthew Shepard. The Laramie Project is at its core a crime story told as oral history by the witnesses who were there. There’s no speculation about whodunnit, and Matthew’s death is neither depicted nor dwelled upon. It’s one statement of fact following another. What’s so dramatic about that, you ask? The people, how they view the crime, how they view themselves. A local Muslim college girl is incredulous when students stage a rally to show that “Laramie is really not like this.” “It happened here,” she says. “Of course it’s like this.” The sets are minimalist, and the staged interviews are augmented by period media reports and photos. Director Greg Carter’s small, Strawberry Theatre Workshop ensemble unfussily shifts from one character to another. Carter largely lets the story tell itself, which today reads like history-as-forecast. In this age of birthers, Obama-as-Hitler signs, and toting guns to presidential speeches, white male anger at the other appears to be on the rise. KEVIN PHINNEY [See Kevin's full review.]

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. Starts: July 8. Continues through Aug. 7, 2010

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