|Detail of The Laramie Project set. Photo by Toni Carosella.|
Certainly on the legal front one could point to the federal Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (2009), the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (2011), and the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage (2015), and give a qualified “Yes!” But hate crime and discrimination legislation on the state (including Pennsylvania and Wyoming) and local levels are woefully lacking; and when it comes to the hearts and minds of average Americans, there is still work to be done. Just recall the Kentucky county clerk who refused to grant same sex marriage because of “religious freedom”, or local businesses nationwide who deny service to gays and lesbians. This reveals how fragile and misunderstood the LGBTQ movement is in America, not to mention the violence done to gays outside our country, in Africa, Russia and elsewhere.
The Laramie Project examines these questions as two communities –the Laramie residents and the members of the Tectonic Theatre Project from New York- learn about themselves and each other in response to the brutal murder of Matthew. Now drive east on I-80 for 1,636 miles and check out Bloomsburg. Should a hate murder occur in our community, how would we respond? With examination, or a cover-up? With outrage, or harassment? These questions keep The Laramie Project from being a period piece. Its enduring relevancy is a call for vigilance against hate. Healing and progress are possible."
- Jim Goode, Director of The Laramie Project
BU Players' production of The Laramie Project runs February 24 through 28. Days and times, as well as ticket information, at buplayers.org.