The Laramie Project at Duke Theater Studies | Theater | Indy Week
Pin It

The Laramie Project at Duke Theater Studies 

Eleven years have passed since the premiere of The Laramie Project; 12 and a half years have elapsed since the death of its principal character, Matthew Shepard. It remains an eerie document in this, its fourth incarnation in the region, itself the subject of a semester-long course by theater studies students at Duke University. Where the fundamental challenges in many scripts can remain unarticulated, even well into a production process, the one in the Tectonic Theater Project's text is nothing if not up-front. It's in the words of one of the interviewed, Father Roger Schmidt, who admonishes the writers—and every actor and director who does this show—not to misappropriate the words entrusted them by the witnesses. "Do your best," he says, "to say it correct."

I should praise here the moving work under Jeff Storer's direction by a number of actors, including Emma Miller, Spencer Paez, Andy Chu, Naomi Riemer, Ben Bergmann and Afftene Taylor, an able chorus which clearly, for the most part, voices the complex and dissonant chords of a group of bewildered, concerned, frightened, offended—and divided—inhabitants of a small town torn apart by homophobic violence, whose flaws were endlessly dissected before a worldwide audience.

Is it merely the season, I wonder, that gives this production the sense of a passion play? When Father Schmidt says the quote above, why do I also hear the words, "Do this in remembrance of me"?

It seems appropriate that dramaturge Jules Odendahl-James focuses in her notes on the irreducible distance between the truth and the theater's presentations and representations of it, and what must get lost in between. The Laramie Project is about loss. It documents what is absent, what has been taken from us and how it was taken. We can't get it back. A human life. An innocence.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Theater



Twitter Activity

Comments

Spelling error for one of the owners of RRE: it's Rebekah Carmichael, not Rachel Carmichael. Also, the shows run between …

by J Robert Raines on Raleigh Room Escapes Slips Through the Keyhole Between Room-Escape Games and Immersive Theater (Theater)

your 20 sept review of playmakers current offering missed the boat, big time. the play portrayed all the characters as …

by Pointyhead on The Cake Edits Reality to Ignore the Everyday Consequences of Bible Belt Homophobia (Theater)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

Spelling error for one of the owners of RRE: it's Rebekah Carmichael, not Rachel Carmichael. Also, the shows run between …

by J Robert Raines on Raleigh Room Escapes Slips Through the Keyhole Between Room-Escape Games and Immersive Theater (Theater)

your 20 sept review of playmakers current offering missed the boat, big time. the play portrayed all the characters as …

by Pointyhead on The Cake Edits Reality to Ignore the Everyday Consequences of Bible Belt Homophobia (Theater)

Oh, I'd be amused even without the in-jokes. These folks are having a great time, and the setting is transportive. …

by needsomeokra on Wants Upon a Time Is a Commedia Dell'arte Interrogation of What Happily Ever After Really Means (Theater)

The photo credit is incorrect. The photo was taken and edited by Areon Mobasher for Burning Coal Theatre Company. Please …

by Areon Mobasher on The Greeks Streamlines Sophocles’s Theban Trilogy Into Three Nimble, Strikingly Modern One-Acts (Theater)

I'm wondering why Dorfman specifically chose the Death and the Maiden quartet - deriving from the song Der Tod und …

by trishmapow on Forgiving is not forgetting in Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden (Theater)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation