The Laramie Project is Menlo School Drama Department winter production

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on February 4, 2015

cast of The Laramie Project at Menlo School

“I think that the high school years are a time in a person’s life when important issues come to the fore with greater awareness,” explains Menlo School director Steven Minning about the selection of The Laramie Project as the upper school’s winter production. “Teenagers tend to love issues — they are very committed.”

The play by Moies Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project is the story of the townspeople of Laramie, Wyoming, and their lives in the aftermath of the murder of Matthew Shepard. Presented in three acts, the docudrama features an ensemble of actors who bring over 70 characters to life in a series of short scenes, touching upon themes of diversity, acceptance, hate, redemption and hope.

“The play is deceiving because there is no scenery,” says Steven. “You think that it’s easy. But through the rehearsal process, we’ve come to find that it’s a very complex play, one that is growing right in front of us.”

There will be four performances, all taking place at Florence Moore Auditorium on the Menlo School campus (50 Valparaiso Ave., Atherton): Friday, Feb 6 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, Feb. 7 at 2:00 pm (with discussion following) and 7:30 pm; Sunday, Feb. 8 at 2:00 pm. Tickets — $10 for adults and $5 for students — can be purchased online or via email, tickets@menloschool.org. Due to its subject matter, it is recommended for adults and mature middle and high school students. All performances will benefit The Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Sophomores Kate Lucas and Maya Donato play three and two characters respectively. The play was new to them and both give high marks to the experience of being directed by Steven.

“He has high expectations and is an amazing director,” says Kate. “His passion transfers to us.”

Adds Maya: “He’s organized and gives us a perspective of what it’s like to work in theater.”

Both agree that they want to continue in drama after high school and feel the opportunity to act in The Laramie Project is “incredible.”

Cast of The Laramie Project photographed by Sarah Lucas

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