The Laramie Project

Oct 24 - Nov 2, 2014
Ethel M. Barber Theater | 30 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston

By Moisés Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theater Project
Directed by Rives Collins

Beginning in 1998, members of Tectonic Theater Project made six trips to Laramie, Wyoming over the course of a year and a half in the aftermath of the beating and during the trial of the two young men accused of killing Matthew Shepard. During the visits, they conducted more than 200 interviews with the people of the small western town, some directly connected to the case. Named by Time Magazine as "one of the ten best plays of the year,” the breadth of the community’s reactions to the crime is crafted into a fascinating theatrical collage that explores the depths to which humanity can sink and the heights of compassion of which we are capable. Led by Northwestern University faculty member Rives Collins (THE HUNDRED DRESSES, THE BLUEST EYE), a new generation of actors bring to life a living mosaic of one community’s response to a tragedy that became a catalyst of cultural and social change in America.

Letter from Judy Shepard [pdf]

Letter from Moisés Kaufman [pdf]

The Wirtz Center’s 2014-15 Mainstage season reflects on the evolving definitions of family and community, inviting audiences to embrace the circumstances that unite and strengthen us. THE LARAMIE PROJECT will extend this theme through talkbacks following every performance, highlighting key figures from Evanston and Chicago with their own unique perspective on the play and it’s themes:

Friday, Oct 24 Tracy Baim
Editor in Chief of The Windy City Times
Saturday, Oct 25 Damon Hainline
Marriage Equality and LGBT Activist
Sunday, Oct 26 Jack Doppelt
Professor of Journalism. Medill School of Journalism
Thursday, Oct 30 Bill Farmer
Teacher and Gay/Straight Student Alliance Advisor at Evanston Township High School

Red Lhota
Rainbow Alliance
Friday, Oct 31 Tim Stevens
Northwestern University Chaplain

Father Kevin Feeney
Chaplain and Director at the Sheil Catholic Center
Saturday, Nov 1 Sgt. Haydee Martinez
University Police
Sunday, Nov 2 Harvey Young
Associate Chair of Theatre, Northwestern University

On display Oct. 24 – Nov. 2
In the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive.

With a focus of simplicity and clarity, “Not Alone: The Power of Response” is a new visual project containing original letters from people affected by the loss of Matthew Shepard. Three themes guide the letters; Empathy, containing cards of sympathy and compassion for the Shepard family; Responsibility, focusing on those who felt the right to teach tolerance; and Action; a tribute to those who found hope and inspired change in their own communities because of Matthew's story. This exhibition was created by Ford’s Theatre Society, Washington, DC and Split Rock Studios, MN, as part of The Lincoln Legacy Project, Fall 2013. Curated by Heather Hoagland, the exhibit is organized by and provided courtesy of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

The exhibit can be viewed a half hour before the start of each performance time of THE LARAMIE PROJECT and the readings of TEN YEARS LATER, as well as during special open exhibit hours on Saturday, October 25 from Noon - 4:00PM, Thursday, October 30 from Noon - 4:00PM, and following the 2:00PM performances on November 1 and November 2 until 6:00PM.

Saturday, Nov. 1 at 2:00PM;  and Sunday, Nov. 2 at 7:00PM
Ethel M. Barber Theatre, 30 Arts Circle Drive
by Moisés Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris and Stephen Belber.

On September 12th, 2008, ten years after the completion of the original production of THE LARAMIE PROJECT, five members of Tectonic Theater Project returned to Laramie to try to understand the long-term effect of the murder of Matthew Shepard. What they found was a town wrestling with its legacy and its difficult place in history. In addition to revisiting the community members whose words riveted audiences around the world in the original play, this time around, the company also spoke with the two murderers, McKinney and Henderson, as well as Matthew's mother, Judy Shepard. THE LARAMIE PROJECT: TEN YEARS LATER is a bold new work, which asks the question, "How does society write its own history?"  Admission is free.


Rives Collins - Director
Having earned his MFA in Child Drama from Arizona State University, Rives Collins has taught at Northwestern for over 25 years. Selected Wirtz Center credits: THE HUNDRED DRESSES, THE BLUEST EYE, THE SECRET GARDEN, HOW CAN YOU RUN WITH A SHELL ON YOUR BACK?, THE ORPHAN TRAIN, LILLY’S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE, CHILDREN OF EDEN, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, AND THEN THEY CAME FOR ME: REMEMBERING THE WORLD OF ANNE FRANK, and INTO THE WOODS. Upcoming: THE LARAMIE PROJECT, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. In 2014, he was the recipient of the Galbut Outstanding Faculty Award, and he directed the world premiere of SPARK at Adventure Stage Chicago where he subsequently became an Associate Artist. As a past president of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, he works with an international community of artists, educators, and scholars to champion the cause of drama and theatre in the lives of young people.

Se Hyun Oh - Scenic Design
Se is a third-year MFA candidate at Northwestern University. His scenic design credits include CABARET (Barber Theater), A DREAM PLAY (Wallis Theater); MR. MARMALADE (The Garage Theatre); VAMPIRE LESBIANS OF SODOM (Long Beach Playhouse); ANOTHER SUN (Associate Design, Hyundai Theatre Group); A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Associate Design, Teatro dell'Opera di Roma); and LE ROI MALGRE LUI (Associate Design, Bard SummerScape). Before his entrance into the program, he worked as an artist for plays, film and operas in Los Angeles, New York, Rome and Seoul. He holds a BA in Technical Theatre & Design from California State University-Long Beach. Upcoming: FABULATION, OR THE RE-EDUCATION OF UNDINE (Louis Theater, February 2015).

Anna Wooden - Costume Design
Anna completed her BA of Fine Arts at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, where she specialized in costume design and printmaking. She is currently a third-year MFA candidate at Northwestern University. During her time here, she has designed PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, EURYDICE, and A DREAM PLAY. Upcoming: THE WILD PARTY (Barber Theater, February 2015).

Jess Harpenau - Lighting Design
Before coming to graduate school, Jessica designed several shows in the Chicago area with companies including American Theater Company, Theater Wit, Profiles Theater, Stage Left Theater, Artistic Home, and City Lit, just to name a few. She has also been the assistant lighting designer for productions at the Museum of Science and Industry, Goodman Theatre, Court Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre and Drury Lane Theatre. She graduated with her BA in Lighting Design from Columbia College Chicago, where she received the Liberace Scholarship in 2008 and 2009 and was also the 2008 recipient of The John Murbach Prize at the Merritt Awards for Excellence in Design and Collaboration. Jessica was an intern at Available Light in Salem, MA in the summer of 2014. While at Northwestern, she designed lights for AIMEE AND JAGUAR, A DREAM PLAY, and a piece in DANCEWORKS 2014: HOT BUTTONS. Upcoming: THE WILD PARTY (Barber Theater, February 2015).

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