... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

The next magnets belong to the fridge of my friend Olivia

* Discussion *

What are your prejudices?

Talk about it here.

Read the forum that was banned by one reader's office computer because it has "sexual content." I must be having more fun than I thought!


The Hammer of Eden
Ken Follett

(I bought this in the Houston airport!)


Two stage shows:
the matinee of
The Laramie Project
the evening production of

Pictures from the Cincinnati are now up at Steve's Club Photo page. Our visit with my goddaughter is on MY Club Photo page (called "Lyke Visit").

That's it for today!



22 July 2001

Today was another two-show day. We've just come from seeing the Alameda Civic Light Opera Company's production of Cabaret. Jeri has been part of the orchestra for this production, which ends with tomorrow's matinee and we wanted to see her on stage. Also, I was curious about the stage show, since my only experience with Cabaret is the movie.

If I were reviewing the production, it would get two stars. Maybe two and a half. The two leads (the MC and Sally Bowles) were excellent, the dance numbers were excellent (and "even the orchestra was beautiful"). But the show is amplified and the sound system was abominable. You missed about 2/3 of the dialog because of sound distortion.

They rearranged scenes, added musical numbers from the movie and subtracted musical numbers from the stage show and the whole thing just had no "life" to it, except when they were doing a musical number. It was very disappointing.

However, as disappointing as Cabaret was the show we saw in the afternoon was that impressive--and more.

The show was called The Laramie Project. I was alerted to this play by a friend who wrote:

If the play The Laramie Project comes to your town go. If you can't afford to go, go anyway. It's the most amazing theater I've ever seen. It's incredible.

It's the story of Matthew Shepard's death told by ensemble cast of 8 people (playing 60 characters). The theater company did over 200 interviews to create the piece. They slip in and out of character with a scarf or a jacket or a pair of glasses. They just stand and talk and you're there in Laramie. It's sad, yes, but there's humor.

That gives a very broad overview of the piece. In expanded version, members of the Tectonic Theater Project made six trips to Laramie over thirteen months to conduct 200 interviews with a cross section of the citizenry--law enforcement officers, medical personnel, friends of Matthew, friends of the murderers, and townspeople like the college drama teacher, the bartender at the bar where Shepard had been that night, a waitress, a couple of gay people, etc.

The interviews were transcribed in minute detail with every "um" and "ahh" left in place and The Laramie Project script came from these verbatim transcripts.

It paints a picture of the people of Laramie and how they responded to the beating and death of Shepard, the swarm of media that invaded their town, the trial and sentencing of McKinney and Henderson, and everyone's feelings a year after the murder.

The incredibly talented cast (most of whom were the same people who conducted the interviews) slip in and out of characters with amazing believability, sometimes changing identity in the blink of an eye with just minimal change in body posture and vocal tone, or perhaps the addition of a hat or hair net.

Through the words of the actual townspeople, we see them confront issues they had never met before, question their prejudices, and realize that a tragedy like this can, indeed, happen "in a town like this."

For an audience, the experience is mesmerizing and at the end of Act 2 (of 3 acts), there were lots of people, who had just heard the doctor announcing Matthew's death, crying. As we left the theatre following act 3, I saw people hugging each other and crying. It was a very powerful experience.

It would be nice to say that at least the people of Laramie were changed through this tragedy, and obviously many of them were. But, as one character pointed out, it was (at the time of the writing of the script) a year later and there was still no hate crime legislation on the books in Wyoming, nor is there any law which protects against discrimination in hiring based on sexual orientation.

Things weren't changed that much.

I echo the words of my friend--if this play comes to your town, even if you can't afford it (it was a pricey afternoon!), spend the money anyway. You will see something that you're not likely to see again. I highly recommend it.

(The highest praise Jeri could give it was that she was so caught up in the story that she forgot to look at the technical parts of the production, which is high praise indeed!!!)

One Year Ago:
Peeing My Way to Los Angeles

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

<- previous | Journal home | bio | cast | archive | next ->
Bev's Home Page

Created 7/17/01 by Bev Sykes