April 6, 2012

The Laramie Project: 10 Years On

A show with a very serious message, yet which is heart warming and humourous.

This show, set ten years on from the incident, revisits the story of Matthew Shepherd, a young man
whose life was tragically ended, though there is debate as to whether his death was a hate crime or
merely a robbery gone wrong. Through a collection of verbatim interview segments, the cast explore
all sides of the story, past and present. It battles with homophobia, prejudice society and the idea of
perpetuating a person’s memory beyond their final day. In 10 years time, will anyone remember our

TLP is performed by a cast of eight yet has no less than 43 characters. The first couple of minutes are
slightly confusing as the cast dart about the stage changing rapidly from character to character
establishing the base of the story but pace slows down as the show progresses making it much
easier to follow. There is no defined set, merely chairs and tables which are moved from place to
place and simple lighting which follows accordingly. The constant shifting lends itself to a ‘stream of
consciousness’ feel, like one person is telling us about all the separate interactions as they play out
before our eyes.

Being a story from America, the cast naturally adopt a range of American accents. Most of these
are performed impeccably with some cast members taking on multiple accents according to their
character load. One of the ladies however had a noticeably kiwi drawl to her "accent" and I felt
disappointed that everyone else had stepped up to the plate and the illusion could be let down by
one weak link.

Various characters (all based on real life residents of Laramie) naturally have varying degrees of
understanding and opinions as to the nature of the crime, all of which are presented evenly and
without biased. One of the greatest things about TLP: 10YO is that it isn’t made to spoon feed a
string of opinions to the audience; we hear everyone’s story and it is up to the individual to find
their own conclusion.

I found I was regularly reminding myself, this is real. The people I’m seeing exist, this is someone’s
son being put on display. What are we meant to learn from this? I think that is essentially what TLP:
10YO really asks of its audience, for us to learn something. Form insightful opinions and learn to
question our society. “Laramie is not a homophobic community, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t
one or two out there.” What parts of Laramie do we see reflected in our own society and what are
we willing to do to change that?

Insightful, thought provoking and incredibly well performed.

Performed at Bats Theatre (see their play information page)
This show is currently not running

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