Our local theater group, The Stage Hands, recently finished a two week run of The Laramie Project.
I had the privilege of playing the “Greg Pierotti” set of roles. It was my first time getting back on stage in some seven years. Over the last decade I’ve done more directing than acting. I’m a bit of a control freak, so that probably suits me.
The treatment of gay people in this country is an issue that I have a heart for. There are a number of people I cherish in my life who identify as gay, and their marginalization, while it is slowly easing up, is an insult to the basic freedoms we have as individuals in the U.S.
I appreciate very much the opportunity to dig into the emotional lives of people who were just trying to come to terms with the complexities of the situation. The killing of Matthew Shepard forced the people of Laramie to face prejudices and feelings they probably hadn’t thought about even once in their lives.
We also had the chance to have a few young people from the local high school’s new LGBTQ Club attend our final full dress and have a chat afterward.
Our small town is a pretty conservative place. Our theatre group has an older, somewhat conservative audience, for the most part. We didn’t know what sort of reaction we would get.
What surprised me is how overwhelming and positive the feedback I received was. We had several people come to 2 or 3 of the 4 performances. There were tears and thoughtful conversation after each show.
The Stage Hands has built decades of history on comedies, musicals, and the occasional mystery. It’s great to know that our audience has such big hearts too.
That is awesome. People are often better than we think.