True tragedy in­spires play

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - ARTS ENTERTAINMENT -

Off the Leash The­atre will pre­sent a pow­er­ful the­atre piece in­spired by a true tragic death at the Old Drouin But­ter Fac­tory over the next two weeks.

Con­tin­u­ing its tra­di­tion of thought­pro­vok­ing the­atre, Off the Leash will pre­sent “The Laramie Project” over a six-show sea­son start­ing on Fri­day night.

The play was in­spired by the death of young, gay univer­sity stu­dent Matthew Shep­ard who was bashed, tied to a wooden fence and left to die. It looks at the im­pact vi­o­lence can have on a small ru­ral com­mu­nity and puts a spot­light on vi­o­lent hate crime.

At a time when ac­cep­tance of peo­ple’s choices is at the fore­front of so­cial con­scious­ness, The Laramie Project looks at all facets of the ar­gu­ment through the small town res­i­dents.

Play­wrights Moises Kauf­man and The Tec­tonic The­atre Project con­ducted over 200 in­ter­views in Laramie, Wy­oming and tran­scribed these into a breath­tak­ing col­lage.

It is the por­trayed at­ti­tudes which will res­onate with au­di­ences as they ques­tion, re­fute and ac­cept how one man’s death led to so much so­cial de­bate.

The Off the Leash cast in­cludes fa­mil­iar faces who re­turn to the stage and some new mem­bers join­ing the com­pany for the first time.

They bring youth, vi­tal­ity and ex­pe­ri­ence to the stage as sub­tle stage po­si­tion­ing com­bined with swift and many cos­tume changes cre­ate an at­mos­phere of in­tense pathos as the plot delves into the fac­tors lead­ing up to and fol­low­ing Matthew’s death.

Re­turn­ing are Lu­cas Thomas and Tessa Wa­ters (“The Boys” 2014), Xavier Lee and Carmel Wal­ton (“Sum­mer of the Aliens” 2015), Shar­ryn Mar­shall (“Wild Dogs” 2013, “Bet­ter is Peace” 2015, “Sum­mer of the Aliens” 2015), and An­nette O’Shea (“Face to Face” 2012, “Bet­ter is Peace” 2015).

Daniel Wareny­cia steps out from be­hind the scenes and takes on his first act­ing role for the com­pany. Keira Jarred, An­thony Kennedy and John Molden are new faces bring­ing ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence.

Round­ing out the cast is Todd Miller (“Sum­mer of the Aliens” 2015, “Milo’s Wake” 2016, “Check­list for an Armed Rob­ber” 2017) who has the in­te­gral role of the nar­ra­tor.

Todd, win­ner of the GAT in 2016 for most out­stand­ing male in a lead role, will also make his di­rec­to­rial de­but for Off the Leash.

Pas­sion­ate about this play for many years, he is thrilled to bring the poignant story to the newly re­fur­bished Old Drouin But­ter Fac­tory.

“The Laramie Project” will be per­formed on Fri­day at 7.30pm, Satur­day at 2pm and 7.30pm, Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 20 at 7.30pm and Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 21 at 2pm and 7.30pm.

Tick­ets are $30 for adults and $25 for con­ces­sion. For book­ings, visit offthe­leashthe­

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