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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

SE drama produces play that tells tragic Laramie Project story

SE+student+Joan+Light+rehearses+for+the+upcoming+production+of+The+Laramie+Project%2C+based+on+the+true+story+of+a+hate+crime+against+a+gay+college+student.+The+play+runs+Oct.+2-5+on+SE+Campus.+Photo+by+Haylie+Jones%2FThe+Collegian
SE student Joan Light rehearses for the upcoming production of The Laramie Project, based on the true story of a hate crime against a gay college student. The play runs Oct. 2-5 on SE Campus. Photo by Haylie Jones/The Collegian

By Elaine Bonilla/se news editor

SE student Joan Light rehearses for the upcoming production of The Laramie Project, based on the true story of a hate crime against a gay college student. The play runs Oct. 2-5 on SE Campus.  Photo by Haylie Jones/The Collegian
SE student Joan Light rehearses for the upcoming production of The Laramie Project, based on the true story of a hate crime against a gay college student. The play runs Oct. 2-5 on SE Campus. Photo by Haylie Jones/The Collegian

The true story of a hate crime committed in Laramie, Wyo., against a gay college student is featured in the production of The Laramie Project Oct. 2-5 on SE Campus.

In 1998, University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, was found beaten and tied to a fence  and died from his injuries days later. A group of New York actors conducted about 200 interviews of the townspeople about the murder of Shepard.

“The interviews were then turned into a play re-enacting of the interviews,” said drama associate professor and director Angela Inman. “The play is the actual words of the interviews. Someone could get on a plane and go to meet the people.”

Inman has directed the play at the University of Texas at Arlington but has not had the chance to perform it at TCC. Each cast member plays between seven and 11 characters.

“It takes a tragedy and turns it into a beautiful lesson about the value of respect and the beauty of a person,” she said.

Brandon Patrick, who plays Jedadiah Schultz, another Wyoming student, said it was easy to connect with his character because, like Jedadiah, he is growing up and realizing things in life.

“I think this play will have people looking at life and others with a different aspect,” he said. “Maybe they will think, ‘I’ve been looking at this person this way and don’t even know them.’”

Cast member Cadence Kirkbride said she had never heard of the play or the events before.

“It’s representation in its truest form being that it’s a documentary with real words and beliefs,” she said. “It just speaks for itself.”

University administrative assistant Sherry Johnson, who portrays Felicia Ajibike, said her character is slightly obnoxious and not really a good person.

“It opens your eyes, and you see people really think this way,” Ajibike said. “It’s an eye-opener knowing these are someone else’s words and their beliefs.”

Cameron Slaughter, who plays Shepard’s father, Dennis, said he couldn’t imagine going through this.

“The way he forgave and granted life to those who did this to his son,” Slaughter said, “it makes me think about forgiveness and putting others before you.”

Cast member Ryan Kerbow said he likes the way the cast members interact with the audience unlike other plays where they just interact with each other in the scenes.

The Laramie Project opens in C.A. Roberson Theater 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday with a 1:30 p.m. matinee Friday. Tickets are free for TCC students, faculty and staff with ID, $6 for general admission and $3 for other students and seniors. Call the box office at 817-515-3599 for reservations. 

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