Friday May 22nd 2015

“The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later”

There are many people who are unfamiliar with “The Laramie Project”, a play that detailed the murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998. The play is in actuality made up of interviews that took place in Laramie after the events that forced humanity to truly look at intolerance and prejudice when it came to sexuality. It was written by Moises Kaufman and the members of the Tectonic Theater Project, the same group that has put together the current production at Redtwist Theatre, “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later”, a brilliant production under the direction of Greg Kolack. Redtwist, for those of you who have never been there, is one of our shining “storefront theaters”, an intimate “black box” where the audience is close enough to touch the actors, and for a show of this nature, a great spot.

This is also based on a series of interviews with the actual people of the town, the parents and the two men who were the killers of Matthew. What these two “plays” did was cause the world to re-examine how people felt about the Gay populace and their rights to live their lives. Matthew’s mother, Judy, has been a force in bringing awareness to our country and in doing so, keeping his memory alive and allowing others not to face the brutality that killed her son.

The cast of eight actors take on many roles as they become those interviewed and the interviewers, but as they change characters, with minimal costumes or glasses added, we are informed as to who they are making it much easier to know what is happening. They are all solid in performance and make each of their characters believable. Matt Babbs, Kurt Brocker, Devon Candura, Gene Cordon, Jan Ellen Graves ( who handles the roe of Judy Shepard with the heart of a mother fighting to keep her son’e memory alive),Lisa Herceg,Eleanor Katz and Matthew Klinger. Most of these actors are new to the Redtwist stage, but each follows the Redtwist mission statement ,” to do white hot drama, in a tiny black box, with a little red twist” to perfection.

What makes this show effective is the warmth of each performer as they take on the personas of the people who lived through this. The people who knew what really took place and those who wanted to think it was only a robbery that went wrong. The lighting by Christopher Burpee and the sound by Rachel Spear added to the moods as created by the story and Kolack. The set is really nothing compared to the story being told as it is only some chairs that are moved about as scenes go from one to another. This is not a typical production with sets, costumes and props that are meaningful to telling of the story.In fact, this is the purest form of story-telling; 8 solid actors doing what the do best!

This production will continue through April 10th with performances as follows:

Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.

There are also some staged readings of “The Laramie Project” on Saturdays at 3 p.m.  through April 7th

Tickets range from $25-$30 ( $5 off for students and seniors) and can be purchased by calling 773-728-7529 or online at www.redtwist.org

The theater is located at 1044 West Bryn Mawr, not an easy place to park, but the meters are now three hours making it a bit easier. The Red Line is by far the best way to go as the Bryn Mawr stop is a short block from the theater.

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