I have never been so happy to have been part of a production as I had been by being involved with The Laramie Project. It was one of the most enlightening, enriching, and heart breaking experiences of my life – I will never forget it in my little black box theatre. We didn’t sell out. We had technical issues on closing night. There were tears and minor skirmishes between staff and cast. It was an amalgamation of shenanigans and good times.
On opening night we had our first talk with members of the Chester County LGBTQ Equality Alliance. All of the efforts they make and that we made through the theatre to support human rights was awe-inspiring (I’d say awesome but it doesn’t seem to be enough of a word).
Closing weekend, Friday night we had another talk back featuring the chief counselor for Sanctuary Counseling in Collegeville, PA.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to effectively translate the thoughts and emotions this show, specifically these two nights, put me through. It wasn’t a rough experience with my cast or with the other staff, but I feel beat up. It makes me question what else I can do for people, specifically those in this community – those who don’t even know they exist in that community (yet). It was transformative. It was necessary. Unfortunately, the show was extremely necessary.
Opening weekend lead into National Coming Out Day and closing weekend wrapped up Transgender Awareness Week. Both of these events are especially poignant. Especially when you realize that not every one has the safety and ability to be themselves, at least not their true selves. How terrifying that experience must be, to survive instead of thrive as a human being. Even in a country that calls itself the land of the free – those who must continually fight for basic rights such as marriage and identity acknowledgement.
If you don’t know the show, you should read it. This is a recommendation based only upon the experiences I underwent while participating and watching the show. It’s a bit difficult to read at first, you transition back and forth between persons and it’s hard to keep track of who was whom to Matthew before and after his murder. If you read it and if you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me at any time. I hope you give it a chance, ’til next time.