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DC Area and Fauquier Premiere of THE LARAMIE PROJECT: TEN YEARS LATER

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DC Area and Fauquier Premiere of THE LARAMIE PROJECT: TEN YEARS LATER

On October 6, 1998, gay student Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten and tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. His 18 hours freezing there and his resulting death shook Laramie to the core, while putting them squarely on the map. Tectonic Theater Project traveled to Laramie shortly after to conduct in-person interviews with the town, and transcribe those interviews into The Laramie Project, a play heard round the world.

Ten years later, Tectonic is back in Laramie, and the Matthew Shepard murder still has the town reeling in the aftermath.

Dark Horse Theatre Company is proud to present the DC Area Premiere of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, a play about how one hate crime shaped a community forever. While Laramie remains tied to Matthew Shepard, the question remains: how has Laramie changed? Or, has it changed at all? Powered by a fabulous cast of sixteen actors bringing over 50 characters to life, The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later features the original words of the interviews conducted by Tectonic in 2008, including the chilling interviews with the murderers themselves.

We open with the Narrator (Peyton Slade, u/s Cheryl Lane) introducing the audience back into the town of Laramie, Wyoming, where Tectonic company member Greg Pierotti (Ricardo Padilla) and University of Wyoming professor Beth Loffreda (Kimberly Kemp) discuss the anniversary of Matthew's death, and what Laramie has and hasn't done since the murder. Over the course of the play, you meet many of the same people from the first Laramie Project, including now retired police officer Reggie Fluty (Allison Turkel), who found Matthew at the fence. Reggie reminisces how her discovery of Matthew lead to the force giving her all the high-profile cases, which stretched her so thin that she had to retire, "to learn how to sleep again". Many of the other citizens of Laramie were also deeply personally affected by the Matthew Shepard murder. Matthew's friend Romaine Patterson (Nailah Hunter) speaks as to how his murder lead directly to her becoming a powerful gay rights activist, and how she has learned to separate "Matthew Shepard", the iconic hate crime, from her deceased friend Matt Shepard.

However, not everyone has taken away the same effects from the murder. Lead investigator Dave O' Malley (Matt Thomas) relives his frustration with a 20/20 interview that centered around the idea that the Matthew Shepard murder was not a homophobic-fueled hate crime, but rather a drug incident. This misrepresentation of the motives of the murderers sparked an uproar in the Laramie community; both in the people who violently opposed the direction of the interview, and those who agreed that it was not a hate crime, and wanted Laramie to stop being labeled a "homophobic community". This division in opinion sparks much of the debate about whether Laramie has changed at all; and if so, on what level, for good, or for worse?

The question of remorse is heavy on the minds of the people of Laramie, but it is the center of the interviews with murderers Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney (both played by Matthew Butcher, u/s Cary Reese). These in-jail interviews, conducted by Tectonic members Greg Pierotti and Stephen Belber (Matt Thomas), offer a chilling look inside the minds of the men who committed this atrocity. While they executed the crime together, their opinions on remorse and regret differ wildly. The contrast of the killers and their views on the beating of Matthew Shepard will leave the audience speechless.

The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later is a timely play about the intersecting effects of one incident on a community's history. Written by Tectonic Theater Project and directed by Natasha Parnian with apprentice directors Sarah Akers and Audra Jacobs, this play will leave the audience reminded of how their own choices can affect themselves, their community, and their future. This production also features the amazing talents of Star Bobatoon, Celia Cooley, Angie Mirae, Ken Gilfillan, Samantha Mitchell, Marcia Markey, and Brandy Smith. Stage Managed by Peyton Johnston.

Dark Horse Theatre Company's production of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later will be performed at Grace in the Plains, located at 6507 Main St, The Plains, VA 20198. This production runs from January 3rd through January 25th at 7:30pm on Friday and Saturday nights, with a 2:30pm matinee performance on Saturday January 11th. Tickets are $20 general admission and $15 for students or military members with ID. More information and online tickets can be found at darkhorseva.com/shows


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