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Loyola Theatre brings "The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later" to campus

September 18, 2009

Loyola University New Orleans Department of Theatre Arts and Dance will join playwright Moisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project in a global follow-up epilogue of the powerful play and movie, “The Laramie Project.” The epilogue focuses on the long-term effects of the hate murder of Matthew Shepard, who was brutally killed in Laramie, Wyo., in 1998. The depravity of his murder galvanized activists in a call to eradicate anti-gay violence and hate crimes.

Loyola theatre’s production will reunite its original 2008 cast of “The Laramie Project” to perform “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later.” The play is written by members of the Tectonic Theater Project and playwright Moisés Kaufman and directed by Loyola theatre arts professor C. Patrick Gendusa.

It will run Oct. 12, at 7 p.m., in Satchmo’s Jazz Café, located on the lower level of the Danna Student Center. Admission is free and open to the public.

Loyola joins more than 100 other theaters in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Spain, China and Australia in performing the play on Oct. 12, the anniversary of Shepard’s death, in an effort to raise awareness about hate crimes. The main production will take place in New York at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.

The epilogue explores how Shepard’s murder transformed the town of Laramie and how his murder continues to reverberate through the community. The play includes new interviews with Shepard’s mother and his murderer Aaron McKinney, who is currently serving two consecutive life terms in prison. The writers also conducted follow-up interviews with Laramie residents who were a part of the original play.

“The Tectonic Theater Project set out to find out how Laramie had changed in the 10 years since the murder of Matthew Shepard,” said Kaufman. “When we arrived, we were forced to confront the question, ‘How do you measure change in a community?’ One of the things we found when we got there, which greatly surprised us, was people in Laramie saying this was not a hate crime.”

Along with the premiere, planners in New York will launch an online interactive community, in which participants can blog, upload video and photos and share personal stories about their experiences in preparing, presenting or viewing the epilogue in their community. The members of Tectonic Theater Project will be active participants in the online community, offering participants feedback and encouragement.

For more information, contact Gendusa at cpgendus@loyno.edu or call 504-865-2835. More information can also be found online by visiting the project’s website at www.laramieproject.com or www.tectonictheaterproject.org.

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