George C. Marshall High School’s Statesmen Theatre is proud to open its 2023-24 season with The Laramie Project, a powerful production marking the 25th anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay college student whose murder sparked a global conversation about hate crimes and LGBTQ+ rights.
On October 12, 1998, Matthew Shepard was brutally attacked and left for dead outside of Laramie, Wyoming, because of his sexual orientation. Written by Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project, through a series of over 200 interviews with residents of Laramie, the play delves into the community response and deeply personal impact resulting from this heinous crime, highlighting the need for tolerance, equality, and acceptance.
“I am putting on this play in response to the to the LGBTQ+ erasure that has been increasing in this country over the past few years,” stated Marshall’s drama director Bernie DeLeo. “I have been disturbed by the silencing of LGBTQ+ voices through book bans and censorship of what our students are allowed to read and see. This is my final year of teaching high school theatre, and I have taught many gay, lesbian, trans & non-binary students in my 16 years. I felt I owed it to them to take a stand on their behalf. I am proud to work in Fairfax County Public Schools, which is pushing back and defending the rights of these kids to exist. Theatre is truly a safe space for many of these students, and they are very motivated to put on this ground-breaking and important play.”
Notably, Matthew Shepard’s memory and legacy continues to be honored locally at the Washington National Cathedral, where he is interred, with a remembrance event planned on November 30, 2023.
Show dates for Marshall’s performance of The Laramie Project are Thursday – Saturday, November 9th, 10th, and 11th @ 7:30 PM with a matinee on Saturday, November 11th at 2:00 PM. The box office opens at 1:00 PM for the matinee and 6:00 PM for evening shows. Marshall High School’s Auditorium is at DOOR 13, at the front right of the building. There is parking up front, and additional parking around back. Running time is approximately 2-1/2 hours with two 10-minute intermission. Tickets can be purchased online at www.statesmentheatre.org or at the Box Office before each performance. For more information, please visit www.statesmentheatre.org.
Pictured at top: Thespian, Omar Falki, embodies the power of theatre to inspire change.