First Posted: 1/15/2009
Michael Jaenicke-Assistant Features Editor
Patty Cucco compares Laramie, Wy., to Lumberton. It is a thought that may have never entered her mind if she weren't playing four parts in The Gilbert Theatre's production of “The Laramie Project.”
The drama deals with the aftermath of a hate crime, where a homosexual was beaten and strung to a prairie fencepost for two days, only to die in the hospital five days later.
Ten actors portray more than 80 members of the Laramie community in giving their reaction to the heinous act. Cucco says Laramie parallels Lumberton and countless other small towns in the United States.
“(Docu-mentary) people come into town and ask questions and, when people begin to talk floodgates of feelings open,” she said. “I don't think anyone in Laramie would have come forward on their own accord. And there's more than one Laramie.”
The production will be at the Fayetteville Arts Council Building through Sunday.
Marcela Casals directs the docudrama about the international news item. Matthew Shepard was a bright, articulate and lovable 21-year-old University of Wyoming student who left a honky tonk with Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson on Oct. 8, 1998. His death prompted a Moises Kaufman and member for his Tectonic Theatre Project to conduct more than 200 interviews over an 18 month period.
To find out where you stand on the issue and what verdict you would give to the accused, go and listen to the ringing words by the Laramie community.
Everyone seems to have been miked-men of the cloth, teachers, doctors, common towns folk, a lesbian professor at the university and friends, acquaintances and family members of the three young men to name a few. In this town even a barber seems to have a valued point of view.
There is not one single compelling opinion but many with characters who talk directly to the audience in a way in which they cannot be tuned out.
Cucco, the only Robeson County performer, may also be the best performer in the show. Overall, the rest of the cast does a solid job.
One of my favorite parts came when a young theater student wins an award for playing a gay character in “Angels in America,” but catches the ire of his mother and father, who didn't seem to mind him portraying a murderer in MacBeth in another play. They refused to watch the first play.
Another good part is when a small-town doctor is in agony because he treated the murder victim and one of the murders. He is torn when saying, “I felt like God, caring for their bodies, their souls. How I am to feel about this?”
But the best line of the show is perhaps, “Isn't every murder a hate crime?”
The show also suggest another idea about the people of Laramie and anyone who forms an opinion in the audience when a character says, “Does everyone have the blood on their hands. There are more gay people in Laramie than meets the eye. And how many towns are there just like us?”
The Fayetteville Arts Building is located at 301 Hay St. For information, call (910) 678-7186.
“The Descendants” will be performed on the studio stage of Wilmington's Thalian Hall through Sunday. Tickets are $10. For information, call (800) 523-2820.
“The Producers” will be performed at Oven Auditorium in Charlotte Oct. 19 to 31.
The UNC-Pembroke musical drama department will perform “Ain't Misbehavin'” Oct. 21 to 23 in Moore Hall.
“Blue Collar” comedian Ron White will perform Oct. 21 at the Crown Coliseum. Tickets are $34. For information, call (910) 223-2900.
The Robeson Little Theater will perform “Company,” Oct. 28 to Oct. 31 at the Carolina Civic Center. For information, call 738-4339.
The UNC-Pembroke drama department will perform Oscar Wilde's “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Oct. 27 to Oct. 30 at the Given Performing Arts Center. For information, call 521-6361.
“Cats” will be performed Nov. 1 at the Crown Coliseum Auditorium. For information, call (910) 438-3100.
“Frankenstein” will be peformed at the Temple Theatre in Sanford through Halloween. Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for students. For information, call (910) 774-4155.
“Jekyll and Hyde” will be performed Oct. 23-31 at the BIT Center in Raleigh. Tickets are $60 to $20. For information, call (919) 831-6950.
The following act will perform at the N.C. State Fair: Josh Turner on Friday; Kimberly Locke on Sunday; Clay Aiken on Monday; Grand Ole Opry Legendsfest on Tuesday; Ralph Stanley, Rhonda Vincent and The Grasscats on Oct. 20; The Four Tops on Oct. 21; MerceyMe on Oct. 22; Gary Allen on Oct. 23; Lonestar Oct. 24. All shows are at 7:30 p.m. at Dorton Arena. For information visit www.ncstatefair.org.
Heavy metal band Deftones will perform Saturday at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Tickets are $25 and $27.50. For information, call (843) 272-3000.
Ricky Van Shelton will perform Saturday at the Alabama Theater. Tickets are $42 to $38. For information, visit alabama-theater.com.
Hootie and the Blowfish will perform Friday at Regency Park in Raleigh. Tickets are $36 and $24. Ricky Scaggs and Kentucky Thunder are there Oct. 23. Tickets are $28 and $23. For information, call (919) 462-2025.
Christian band Third Day will perform Oct. 30 at the Crown Coliseum. Tickets are $28 in advance and $31 day of the event. Keith Urban will be there Nov. 27. For information, call (910) 223-2900.
Michael Jaenicke can be reached at 739-4322, Ext. 149, or at [email protected] south.net.