The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, an Epilogue... nothing I can say carries nearly the weight of the voices from this performance. Without the obvious (visual) markers of place and time denoted by sets and costumes and that type of thing, this staged reading can be anytime and anyplace---and it is. In reality, it not only plays out in Wyoming but also in Georgia. It's a continuing story that plays out around the world and in our own back yard. After the performance, a few of us discussed this very thing and asked if we were unrealistic in our expectations of the citizens of Laramie when the problem belongs to us, too? I was particularly moved by the stories about hearts that were changed, eyes that were opened, champions of compassion and understanding, and unexpected allies when they were needed most. (Image: Romaine Patterson, close friend of Matthew Shepard, mourning at the fence where he was murdered. The fence has since been removed.)
The legendary André De Shields (in town for his upcoming production at the Alliance opening Oct. 28th) did us a great kindness by opening Monday night's performance. Patrick McColery, the Alliance Theatre's Artistic And Literary Associate, led the effort to make this work available in Atlanta on this sad anniversary. Eleven years after Matthew Shepard's death, this production was performed in 150 theaters, 50 states and 9 countries according to The Laramie Project website. Here are two articles that covered this Epilogue: a Newsweek article and an NPR story. Sincere props to Freddie Ashley and the entire cast.