From the Manchester College Archives

News Release


Manchester spring play presents

community in wake of hate crime

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – Based on a true story, Manchester College’s spring play explores humanity at its greatest and at its most terrible. The Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman discusses the impact of the hate crime assault of student Matthew Shepard on the community of Laramie, Wyoming.

Manchester College will present the drama at 7 p.m. on three nights, May 6, 7 and 8 in Wampler Auditorium. Tickets are $6.50 for adults and $5.50 for students and senior citizens.

The plot revolves around the community of Laramie, Wyoming and residents’ reactions to hate crime against the University of Wyoming student. Matthew Shepard was killed in October 1998 by three fellow students. This play does not focus on the crime, however. Rather, the play is drawn from more than 200 interviews conducted by Kaufman about the community’s reaction to being in the eye of a media hurricane. It brings to light the potential for violence in even the most remote corners of the American landscape.

“I’d like the audience to see that hate crimes or hateful messages will have a negative impact at all levels in a community,” said director and communications Professor Scott Strode. “That, to paraphrase the playwright, no matter to what depths humanity can sink, we are capable of great compassion. I like the message, which is appropriate for Manchester College right now.”

A discussion session will follow the performances. Members of the cast, Campus Interfaith Board and United Sexualities will be present to field questions or concerns.

Each cast member will perform several different characters in the Laramie community and their experience with the media frenzy.

Cast members are: Brad Thomson, a senior from Fort Wayne, Ind.; Sarah Oren, a sophomore from Vandalia, Ohio; Becky Hollenberg, a junior from Osceola, Ind.; Jon Magley, a senior from Decatur, Ind.; Brad Vah, a sophomore from Chesterton, Ind.; Steve Grubb, a junior from Goshen, Ind.; Erin Gropp, a first year student from Hudson, Ind.; and Rachel McFadden, a sophomore from North Manchester, Ind.

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