Clarence Brown Theatre Teams-up With Local Church to Present ‘Laramie Project’ Epilogue

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KNOXVILLE — The Clarence Brown Theatre Company next week will join 130 theater companies in all 50 states, Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Hong Kong and Australia for a simultaneous staged reading of the sequel to The Laramie Project, one of the most highly acclaimed and frequently produced American plays of the last decade.

Directed by Lianne Kressin, The Laramie Project, Ten Years Later, An Epilogue will begin at 7:45 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 2931 Kingston Pike. Clarence Brown actors are teaming up with the church’s Performing Arts and Lecture Series for the production. Admission is free.

The original Laramie Project dealt with the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay 21-year-old college student who was found brutally beaten, tied to a fence and left to die on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyo.

In the months following Matthew’s death, members of New York’s Tectonic Theater Company traveled to Laramie and began interviewing the residents of the town. These 200 conversations became the framework of the play and a subsequent HBO movie adaptation, which have been seen by more than 50 million people worldwide.

The sequel, written by Moises Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris and Stephen Belber, is based on the authors’ 2008 return to Laramie to see what had changed — and what had not — during the decade since the murder. The resulting Laramie Project, Ten Years Later, An Epilogue, includes interviews with many of the original townspeople, as well as with Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother, and his two murderers, both now serving life sentences in prison.

The play portrays the people in a specific American city and their ongoing struggle to comprehend how such a horrible hate crime could be committed in their midst and by their own citizens and addresses how time and memory can shape a community’s history after such a seismic event.

After the reading, the audience will take part in a live webcast talkback with the authors from Lincoln Center in New York City.

For more information call 974-5161.

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