[ 0 ] June 20, 2011 |
Students from The Coronado School of the Arts Present The Stirring Story of Life in a Small, Rural Town…

SAN DIEGO – Last weekend, Cygnet Theatre launched its final show of Season Eight, Thornton Wilder’s OUR TOWN a classic look at life from one community’s various residents and characters.

Now, to further that exploration, Cygnet’s Playwright Companion Series is delighted to welcome students from the Coronado School of the Arts for a one-performance-only staging of THE LARAMIE PROJECT by Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theatre Project.  This very special event will be performed Saturday, June 25th, at 12:00 noon at Cygnet Theatre in the Old Town State Historic Park.

THE LARAMIE PROJECT, which premiered at the Ricketson Theatre in 2000, focuses on the reaction of the 1998 murder of University of Wyoming gay student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming.  The play was based on hundreds of interviews conducted by the theatre company with various inhabitants of the town and exposes a variety of views on prejudice, tolerance, grief and the impact of one man’s life.

Artistic Director Sean Murray sees a strong connection between THE LARAMIE PROJECT and OUR TOWN, currently in performance on the Cygnet stage.  “Both shows depict life in small American towns at opposite ends of the 20th century and both require very little in the way of production values,” said Murray. “The impact of both of these shows is in the message.  Kaufman and Wilder simply ask their audience to let the words of a community speak for themselves.”

This parallel seemed a natural fit for Cygnet’s Playwright Companion Series which seeks to deepen the theatre-going experience for its audiences with uniquely diverse “partner pieces” to each of Cygnet’s main-stage shows.

Fortunately, Murray didn’t have to look far to find the perfect cast to perform the companion piece. Kim Strassburger (Noises Off, Biedermann and the Firebugs), a teacher at the Coronado School of the Arts and director of Cygnet’s concert staged-reading of Passion, directed a highly-praised production of THE LARAMIE PROJECT with her students last January.

The production made the local headlines when representatives of Fred Phelps Westboro Baptist Church (who are portrayed picketing Matthew Shepard’s funeral, as they did in real life) announced that they would be picketing the COSA production of LARAMIE, as well.

“It was actually a very unifying experience,” said Strassburger. The COSA students planned their own counter-protest and, although the Phelps picketers were stopped by an injunction protecting minors from possible violent circumstances, the community bonded over the experience. “Over three hundred supporters arrived to show that they were standing behind us,” explained Strassburger.  “It became another lesson on community and the impact each of us can make.”

Cygnet Theatre is proud to offer an encore performance of this production of THE LARAMIE PROJECT, featuring students from the Coronado School of the Arts and directed by Kim Strassburger.

This one-performance-only event plays Saturday, June 25th at 12:00 noon on Cygnet’s Old Town Stage located at 4040 Twiggs St. in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Admission to THE LARAMIE PROJECT is $10.

To purchase tickets or for more information, visit Cygnet’s website at, call the box office at (619) 337-1525 or visit the box office in person.

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Category: San Diego

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