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The Laramie Project sparks discussions on hate crimes

December 7, 2007

In November, the Loyola University New Orleans Department of Theatre Arts and Dance presented The Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman and the members of the Tectonic Theater Project.

The response and reaction from The Laramie Project was exactly what director C. Patrick Gendusa had envisioned for the show. After the production, he received numerous letters and e-mails from individuals detailing how the show personally impacted them.

According to Gendusa, one of the major reasons for showcasing this production was to raise awareness of hate crimes in our community. Gendusa brings to the production an element of personal experience. About a year ago, he was restrained, savagely beaten, and left to die on a doorstep in downtown New Orleans. Gendusa adamantly believes that this heinous act was a reaction to his sexual preference.

Nadine Pfizer, drama instructor at Cabrini High School, brought her theatre class to see the performance. She said that the play provided “discussions of issues that have been thought provoking and stimulating.” Elizabeth Theriot, a theatre student from East Saint John High School, reflected upon the production by stating “homosexuality has always been a difficult topic for me to understand. I'm straight myself, and a Christian. The latter gives me so much trouble when I try to understand the concept of homosexuality. I'm a person who believes love is the strongest force we have in life, and should be treasured no matter what.” Ana Melara, a student from Cabrini High School, said, “Everything about it [the performance] was spectacular. It was comedic, it was moving, it was tearful, and it was beautiful. It was more than just a play. It was more than just a story. It is a call to action. It is a call to compassion.” These comments were among a handful of other comments that proclaimed the positive influence that the play had with its audience.

The Laramie Project also sparked a panel discussion on hate crimes by the Loyola University Community Action Program (LUCAP). LUCAP is a student organization composed of and directed by student volunteers, provides and directs volunteers in service-oriented activity within the community and the university, the second being to inform and promote involvement in the area of social justice, and aids in the volunteers’ social and spiritual growth through their involvement in service and care-giving activities.

For more information about The Laramie Project, or about the LUCAP panel discussion, please contact Sean Snyder at smsnyder@loyno.edu or call (504) 861-5882.

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