In preparation for the production, we’re meeting for two and a half hours each week to discuss all of Jules’s findings. She’s put so much quality work into this project. If the script weren’t enough (which it is) the labor, the passion, the creativity and the funding that have gone into this definitely impress upon me how important this play is to so many people. These weekly meetings are not enough to delve deeply into this. We’ve only had a few classes so far, so I know there’s much more to do and discuss. But I’m so excited to get to work on this! This type of theater and this subject material present a challenge. The Laramie Project has been done before, plenty of times, so how we’ll present it anew intrigues me. I think it can be done. I just hope we can reach enough people with it. It means so much to me that we reach people with this. They need to hear what Laramie has to say, and they need to hear what Laramie has to say. And they need to hear what our Laramie has to say.
I’ve witnessed and experienced hate before. Homophobic, transphobic, racist, sexist, classist and ableist hate have been a part of my entire life. Society has provided them for me my entire life. They were never really taught to me by people I respected, and if they were I don’t respect them now. So it’s safe to say I don’t retain any of those hateful lessons I may have been taught. Still, as reassuring as it may be to know that I don’t harbor those feelings, I cannot forget that there are others who do. Laramie/Laramie has reminded me of this. I was talking to a friend recently about how difficult it is to understand thoughts and opinions different from one’s own. I used the example of food. “It is actually difficult for me to understand how someone can dislike the taste of a cheeseburger! I have to really step outside of myself to understand that.” Think about it. Can you yield your own mindset well enough to take on another? Possibly one with which you disagree? It’s tough. I commented on one of Jules’s posts with a quote from the feature she embedded from ABC Nightly News with Charlie Gibson. They interviewed a man who said, “If you’ve ever called anyone a fag or a dyke…it’s in you – whatever killed Matthew.” That’s stayed with me. How can that be in other people? There’s a killing spirit in people I have met before because they feel the same way Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson did (…do?). Those are the people we have to reach. They’re the ones this production wants. At least for me.