STORY BY YAZMIN TORRES, PHOTOS BY ANDREW HOFSTETTER
After a year long absence of live performances due to COVID-19, Cypress theatre students gear up for an upcoming production of the “The Laramie Project,” which will be performed live at the campus theatre on Oct. 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 17, 24 at 4 p.m. A streamed version of the performance will be performed on Oct. 27 and 28 at 7 p.m.
Being the first in-person performance since the start of COVID-19, “The Laramie Project” presents a true story involving a 21 year old student of The University of Wyoming, Matthew Shepard, who was kidnapped and murdered for being gay in 1998. A month after the crime, the Tectonic Theatre Company traveled to Laramie and conducted over 200 interviews concerning the murder over the course of a year. The Laramie Project surrounds topics of homophobia, violence and discrimination.
Director Jennifer McMillin said the result is a “snapshot of a community grappling with grief and the equation on hate.”
Cypress College students began their in-person rehearsals the first week of school, four times a week in masks. COVID-19 testing will begin for students a week prior to the performance in order to ensure the safety of staff, students and audience members.
Cypress theatre students had their first rehearsal this past Aug., after not being able to meet in-person since March of 2020. McMillin, the acting and performance studies faculty instructor, said that her students are excited to finally be back collaborating and working together.
“One of the foundations of theatre is communion. That sense of communion is a relief to audience members, but also to the cast,” she said.
Tickets will begin at $15 for the general audience and $12 for Cypress College students. A student night will be hosted on Oct. 22, which will include a reduced price of $8 a ticket and a talk back after the show. Audience members attending the performance must wear face masks during the entire performance and show proof of vaccination for entry into the theatre. In the lobby of the Cypress College theatre there will also be an interactive art exhibition, dedicated to the question, “What is the equation of hate?”
For tickets and streaming access, students can visit Cypress College theatre website.
“Hate crimes are on the rise. We hope this play and exhibit will give students an opportunity to examine the complicated landscape of hate,” said director McMillin in an email.