It’s hard to believe that fourteen years have passed since the senseless and horrific murder of Matthew Shepard, an openly gay student at the University of Wyoming. After Shepard’s death, the Tectonic Theater Project mounted a groundbreaking play titled The Laramie Project, which explored Shepard’s murder and the reaction of the Laramie, Wyoming community through a series of interviews.
On November 9, 2012, the Open Book Collaborative will present a staged reading of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later. The play explores the continuing ramifications of Shepard’s murder on the town of Laramie. It features follow-up interviews with some of the individuals featured in the original play as well as new interviews with Shepard’s mother Judy and one of his killers, Aaron McKinney.
The staged reading will be directed by Collingswood resident Amy Henderson Riley and will feature a cast of 13 local actors. Henderson Riley directed a 2011 production of The Laramie Project for the Collingswood Community Theatre. Afterward, she and some of the cast from the production formed the Open Book Collaborative, which, according to the Collaborative’s press release, will “produce works and benefit performances to raise funds for worthy causes.”
The story of Matthew Shepard is one that touched the hearts of countless people across the world and still resonates with Henderson Riley. She recalls watching the vigils for Matthew and wondering how such a senseless and horrific thing could happen in 1998. However, as Henderson Riley says, “These issues are still very real.”
The reading will be held at Haddonfield Plays and Players, at 957 East Atlantic Avenue, in Haddonfield, NJ on Friday, November 9th at 8:00 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which utilizes educational, advocacy, and outreach programs to replace hate with compassion, understanding, and acceptance.
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased either from the Open Book Collaborative by emailing email@example.com or at ExtraordinaryEd at 710 Haddon Avenue in Collingswood, NJ.