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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of February 27 - March 5, 2002

  Arts & Entertainment

Valley actors to stage ‘The Laramie Project’

Express Arts Editor

It is true that events sometimes define a place, sometimes accurately, sometimes not. Take, for example, Laramie, Wyo. In October 1998, a gay college student named Mathew Shepard was lured from a bar there, kidnapped, tied to a fence, beaten with the butt of a gun, and left to die. The story became a national one, with all sorts of generalizations about Laramie being thrown about.

Enter Moisés Kaufman, a New York-based writer and director of the Tectonic Theatre Project. A month after the murder, Kaufman and nine members of the theater group flew to Laramie to interview anyone they could about their reactions to the crime. One year and 200 interviews later, the group emerged with the play "The Laramie Project." It proved to be much richer in revelation about the people of Laramie and every other town in America, for that matter, than any news story could be.

Jonathan Kane and more than 15 valley actors, including Pamela Sue Martin, will perform a staged reading of "The Laramie Project" Sunday, 6:30 p.m., at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Ketchum. The Interplanetary Theatre Group is presenting the reading free of charge.

There are 60 parts in the play, with many actors playing more than one role. Other actors slotted to read are Kathy Wygle, Bill Nagel, Scott Creighton and Larry Kelley.

While the play deals with many issues, Kane said one of the central questions it addresses is: "Were they (the perpetrators of the crime) sociopaths or just part of the community?"

In an interview with American Theatre magazine, the director Kaufman said: "The experience of working on ‘The Laramie Project’ has been one of great sadness, great beauty and, perhaps most importantly, great revelation—about our nation, about our ideas, about ourselves."

An HBO adaptation of the play was the opening night film Jan. 10 at the Sundance Film Festival. The film is tentatively set to air on HBO Saturday, March 23.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.