SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - This weekend State College of Florida Manatee- Sarasota opens it's fall production "The Laramie Project" which is a story that's hard to tell.
Amanda Schlachter, Director of the the Laramie Project, and Kelsey Fisher, an actor and SCF student talk about the project.
They say the reason they are presenting the play now, is because the play's opening weekend marks 20 years since the brutal attack on Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming for being gay. It's a true story.
Matthew Shepard, a young gay man, was discovered tied to a fence outside Laramie, Wyoming. He was savagely beaten and left to die in an act of hate that shocked the nation. The script is written around how Shepard's death became a national symbol of intolerance. For the town's people, the event was deeply personal, and the audience will hear from them, in what is described as a "stunningly effective theater piece, and "a deeply complex portrait of a community".
The play is based on over 200 interviews, journal entries and court transcripts that the Tectonic Theatre Group compiled during the year after Matthew's death. It's done in a style called verbatim theatre.
Amanda Schlachter says, "This is a rare opportunity to perform verbatim theatre. "The Laramie Project" is one of the most famous pieces of theatre in this genre."
She says it has deeply affected student cast members. "For many SCF students, this show has become a history lesson. Many of them were not born when it happened in 1998. The cast has a strong passion for the work and have found the research to be both heartbreaking and enlightening."
SCF has a very strong Theatre Arts Program, according to Amanda. "We offer scholarships to students, a two-year theatre arts curriculum, and produce four main stage shows every year."
"The Laramie Project" is in the Studio Theatre, at State College of Florida, October 5 thru 14th. For tickets and information go to scf.edu/theatre