CHS Theatre Presents: the Laramie Project

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The CHS Theatre will be presenting “The Laramie Project,” which addresses the controversial topic of gay rights. On Dec. 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12, Theatre Production will be performing the 3-act play in the CHS Theatre.
The play depicts an incident in 1998 when a college student named Matthew Shepard was murdered in Laramie, Wyoming, for being homosexual. The show reflects upon this real-life incident by drawing on hundreds of interviews of people who were affected by the incident. CHS was one of the first high schools to perform this play 15 years ago, and is performing it again this winter. After gay marriage was legalized in the U.S., the Theatre Department felt that it would be a good opportunity to perform the Laramie Project once more to address the controversy on the topic of gay rights.
Krista Elhai, the director of the Theatre Department at CHS, looks forward to the performance and hopes to effectively
express the play’s deep message to CHS students and other viewers.
“First of all, it is an outstanding show with a lot of roles, but we’re performing the play because I do not think this generation of students remembers the incident. I think there is a lot of bigotry related to the play’s theme on campus and around the country,” Elhai said.
CHS students in Theatre Production will be performing as a wide variety of characters in the play. Sophomore Kelly McGarry is playing Sherry Aanenson, the landlord of one of the men convicted of Matthew Shepard’s murder. She is also playing a person who peacefully protested against the hate towards Shepard and the homosexual community. McGarry
has grown to really enjoy rehearsing the play and acting as the characters in her roles.
“It wasn’t until we started blocking out the play and developing it that I realized how much I like it and how strong of a message it has. This story is very interesting and powerful, and I’m really enjoying performing it,” McGarry said. “This incident feels like a lifetime ago, but what shocks me is that there are still many people who think that the murder was not wrong, which is crazy in today’s society.”
Senior Jason Acosta is another actor who will be performing in “The Laramie Project.” He will be playing Dennis Shepard, father of Matthew Shepard. He will also be playing Harry Woods and as the priest at Matthew Shepard’s funeral. To prepare for his role, Acosta personally interviewed Dennis Shepard by phone call to learn first hand how he was affected by this incident. Acosta believes that “The Laramie Project” will resonate with all audiences.
“What we all are trying to achieve with this play is to send a clear message that no one should have to go through what Matthew went through ever again,” Acosta said. “The simple fact that he was gay does not give the two men the right to just beat him and tie him to a fence.”
“The Laramie Project” was cast on Oct. 20, and Theatre Production has been rehearsing the play ever since. However, the actors have been researching the show and the incident since the beginning of the school year. The first performance will be held at the CHS theater on Friday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. The Theatre Department is looking forward to this 3-act performance and is hoping to deliver the play’s deep message to the audiences and CHS students.
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