BY NAVEEN KUMAR
Just months after the fifteenth
anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death, the Tectonic Theatre Project presents
both plays of The Laramie Project Cycle
at Brooklyn Academy of Music, performing in repertory at the Harvey Theater through February 24th.
These extraordinary productions,
helmed by Tectonic’s resident director Moisés Kaufman (The Heiress), are proof of The
Laramie Project’s lasting ingenuity. Then, as now, this is provocative,
innovative, and wrenching theatre—and its call to arms for social justice is as
urgent as ever.
In the fall of 1998, just one month
after Shepard’s death, members of the theatre company travelled to Laramie,
Wyoming to interview its citizens about their experience with one the country’s
most notorious hate crimes and its explosive aftermath—including the ensuing
media frenzy, investigation and trail of Shepard’s murderers, and how all of
this affected the small western town.
Beautifully assembled using
interview transcripts, company member journal entries, and other published
accounts, the result is a searing and powerful play that offers rare insight
into the emotional lives of those immediately affected by a tragedy that quickly
escalated to the national level. The company conceived a second play by the
same process in 2008, The Laramie
Project: Ten Years Later, to follow up on developments in the community.
This momentous New York production of
both plays reunites most of the Tectonic company members who traveled to
Laramie and conceived the original project, which has since been adapted into
an HBO film and seen thousands of productions around the country.
CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...