‘The Laramie Project’ staged by Indian Creek School this weekend

laramie poster finalThe Indian Creek School in Crownsville is putting on "The Laramie Project," this weekend — a challenging production about humanity.

The play will be held Nov. 14-15, with shows open to the public Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Friday's performance is a students-only show at 7 p.m. School's interested in attending should email boxoffice@indiancreekschool.org. One chaperone for every four students is free. Tickets to the show are $12, $6 for the Friday performance.

"The Laramie Project" is a theatrical collage based on the kidnapping and beating of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard in 1998 because he was gay. Shepard was tied to a fence in the middle of the prairie outside of Laramie, Wyo. and left to die. His body was not discovered until the next, day and he died several days later.

"Indian Creek School is committed to building diversity as a core value of our community and fostering an inclusive environment in which all members of the school community are understood, valued, respected and affirmed," said Maggie Melson, director of Instructional Advancement at the school. "Presenting this play gives us the opportunity to uphold our mission and explore intersectionality, discrimination and oppression."

The production is not structured like a traditional play. It features nine actors playing 60-plus roles, so each student portrays multiple characters. The actors provide the audience with information to make their own decisions about how people respond to difficult situations.

The play is not commonly performed by high school groups because of the emotional substance, the mature subject matter, the difficulty of capturing the essence of many different characters by one actor, and also because the play is made up of real world content, Melson said. The material is taken from newscasts, court transcripts, interviews, legal documents and testimony. The cast of the Indian Creek School production has been preparing since last spring.

For the actors, this production is not just a school play, it is the culmination of an educational journey that has taken them into the world of The Tectonic Theater, the original group who wrote and first performed "The Laramie Project." The cast Skyped with original cast member (and named character) Barbara Pitts, and later brought her to campus for a full day's workshop. The cast also got the chance to meet Judy and Dennis Shepard, the parents of Matthew Shepard, when they were in town to speak in October.

This production ties in with a school-wide focus on teaching about human rights and inclusivity through education, extra-curricular projects, community service and the school culture, Melson said. Cast members created wristbands that say "Hate is not an ICS Value" with the Laramie dates printed on them. The wristbands are currently on sale. The bands will also tie into the National Day of Silence observation at the Upper School, where Upper School students will screen a soon-to-be released documentary entitled, "Matthew Shepard is My Friend."

For details and ticket information visit the Indian Creek School website.

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