Under the direction of Sasha Bratt, Instructor of Theater, students at NVCC presented The Laramie Project in the Playbox Theater at the Waterbury campus of the College October 26-29.
NVCC Theatre Department produces top quality productions that provide experience for students and a thoughtful message for the audience. The Laramie Project tells the story dating back to October 1998, when a gay college student was discovered bound to a fence outside Laramie, Wyoming. He had been savagely beaten and left to die in an act of brutality and hate that shocked the nation. Matthew Shepard’s death became a national symbol of intolerance, but for the people of the town, the event was deeply personal. In the aftermath, Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project went to Laramie and conducted more than 200 interviews with its citizens. From the transcripts, the playwrights constructed an extraordinary chronicle of life in the town after the murder. The Laramie Project is a breathtaking collage that explores the depths to which humanity can sink and the heights of compassion of which we are capable.
The play ran from Thursday- Saturday, October 26th - 28th at 7:30 pm with a Sunday, October 29th at 2:00 pm matinee. Following the performance on opening night (Thurs., Oct. 26), the cast, crew, and director will held a “Talk Back” where the audience is invited to ask questions about the production. This was the opportunity to get the inside track on what goes into a show like this!
Following the emotional and thought provoking performance of the Laramie Project, Director Sasha Bratt and the talented cast participated in a “Talk Back” where audience members asked questions about the production. A central theme was how the individual cast members struggled to perform multiple (and sometimes opposing) roles. Some of the performers discussed their internal conflict in giving voice to homophobic characters who made offensive comments, while simultaneously recognizing their responsibility as an actor, the role of ideology and language in fueling hate, and a hope for positive change in the future. Professor Nikki McGary, adviser for the Safe Space student club on campus, also reminded the audience that although this Project focused on a single hate crime against a member of the LGBT community in 1998, there has been a recent increase in hate homicides against LGBT folk. We must not become desensitized and apathetic about such violence or assume that this kind of hate is only historical. Sasha Bratt spoke about how the Laramie Project sparks an essential conversation about hate, in all of its forms. After the Talk Back, family, friends, cast and crew all hugged each other to celebrate a job well done, but also in appreciate for one another and the beauty that does exist in this world. Because although the Laramie Project is about something so incredibly sad, it manages to still inspire hope, gratitude and compassion.