'The Laramie Project' opens on Friday

BRATTLEBORO — New England Youth Theatre presents the groundbreaking play "The Laramie Project" by Moises Kaufman, directed by Hallie Flower, to be performed on Friday, April 6, at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m., April 13 at 7 p.m., April 14 at 2 and 7 p.m., and April 15 at 2 p.m. at NEYT, 100 Flat St. in Brattleboro.

In October 1998, Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, severely beaten and left to die, tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyo. Five weeks later, Moises Kaufman and fellow members of the Tectonic Theater Project went to Laramie, and over the course of the next year, conducted more than 200 interviews with people of the town. From these interviews they wrote the play "The Laramie Project," which is a chronicle of the life of the town of Laramie in the year after the murder and has gone on to be one of the most performed plays on American stages.

The play is meant to be different from other theatrical productions, and encourages audiences to engage in dialogue while urging them to action based on their response to the performance. The entire Laramie Cycle includes "Laramie: Ten Years Later," which revisits Laramie to see how the town and its inhabitants had changed in the 10 years since the tragic event. NEYT will be performing this second piece on April 27 through 29 in a site-specific performance in collaboration with the Brooks House, 6 High St..

"These kids are bringing a tremendous level of care and respect to the creation of the characters — all of whom are real people," said Flower, who notes that the company had the rare opportunity to work directly with a member of the Tectonic Theater Project. "We are indebted to the Samara Fund for making this possible".

Tickets for are $13 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for students and may be purchased in advance at neyt.org, at NEYT Box Office, or a 802-246-6398 from 12 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays.


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