Gay in Cowboy Country: Laramie Project Premieres at Black Box Nov. 1st

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Sam Stone

The student production of Laramie Project quickly approaches and, with that, the actors, crew, and directors now are able to show what months of hard work has amounted to.

To not focus on the plot of the show, a summary and previous interview with director Mr. Farinelli here, but rather those involved and the show’s impact. He highlights in both interviews conducted how Lakewood may be a safe place for those within it, to shed light on a hate crime and how the circle around it was affected. How the nation was during the whole ordeal.

“As humans, we have a tendency to try to ignore what makes us sad or uncomfortable, because we don’t want to feel those emotions,” accounted Domenic Farinelli, director of the show and advisor of the Barnstormers, “but if we don’t embrace these feelings, if we don’t act on them and speak out, how can we ever hope for a better tomorrow? So I guess I hope that this play reminds our audience that we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a country where hate crimes happen. And by speaking out against hatred and treating others with kindness, we are doing our part in providing hope for the future.”

Lillian Bacon, assistant director, and a junior at LHS describes her own struggle was with confidence. But as things advanced, her confidence in herself and in others involved strengthened. this will be her first time directing and with that she works with Farinelli to ensure that, in words of Father Roger Schmidt, “say it correct.” The cast is 28 strong and have distributed amongst them 75 roles. Farinelli describes the actors as “professional” and to portray the emotions of the play on-stage. “To me, this production is about unity. A very large number of us came together to make this happen, and hopefully, we’re bringing together those who come to see it,” she remarked.

When asked his favorite part of the production, Farinelli said, “Hands down, it’s the Angel Action scene. And I think that’s because it’s the one moment in the show where the entire cast is involved. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’m sure the audience will agree with me. I fight back tears and goosebumps every night. We have such a talented, responsible, intuitive cast, and for maybe five minutes all 28 cast members come together in one scene. You may not see them all, but you’ll hear them. It’s pure magic.”

“They are real people who said everything they did for a reason, and I want to show that sometimes the reason they have aren’t always the kindest…The Laramie Project is an intense show, and I’d like my characters to match that intensity,” Trinity Ritchie, an actor in the show who plays Dennis Shepard, father of Matthew, along with three other roles.

They continued on, focused on the matter of what this show means to address hate, “as someone in the LGBT+ community, I will take any exposure, and any truth I can get. This show is a reminder that there is always room for love, and it will outshine hate.”

Though the show has so much potential to do good, it doesn’t end there. The students have moved to do some work for the Matthew Shepard Foundation. It is an advocacy group founded by Matthew’s family to honor him. The show will be donating money collected from button sales the days of the shows. The buttons are $1.00 and one hundred percent of their sales will go to the foundation. One can donate more than the cost of the pin.

The Laramie Project comes to the Black Box Studio Theater November 1st through 3rd. Showtimes for November 1st is 7:30, 2nd at 4:00, and a show at both 2:30 and 7:30 on Saturday.