Article Title:Bringing Laramie to Christchurch
Author or Credit:Craig Ogilvie, with
Published on:2nd March 2014 - 11:07 am
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Story ID:14707
Text:Matthew Shepard The Laramie Project is coming to Christchurch. Director Craig Ogilvie tells why he is bringing the confronting play about the killing of young gay man Matthew Shepard to the Garden City. The Laramie Project is an insight into a small Wyoming town reeling from the brutal attack and subsequent death of gay University student, Matthew Shepherd. In 1998, he was tied to a fence in a barren landscape, brutally beaten and left to die. The Laramie Project is a result of over 200 interviews with Laramie locals conducted by members of New York's Tectonic Theatre Company. Craig Ogilvie tells us about bringing the play to Christchurch ... Tell us a bit about yourself and your history in theatre? I'm 43 and I have been performing in the theatre since I was about 15 (repertory, children’s and musical theatre). Musicals are more my thing though. I'm more of a singer than an actor, and certainly NOT a dancer! lol. I've worked behind the scenes in production management and Marketing too recently, but feel it's time for a new challenge. I love the idea of taking a script and making it come alive! What made you want to put on The Laramie Project? Lots of things appealed. I wanted my first project to be easy to stage and it needed to be something I connect with. It's a relatively simple play to stage (minimal set), thought deceptively complicated to execute (I found out!). I have been 'out' since I was 21 and had a remarkably easy time gaining acceptance. I am aware that many others in this world struggle with that, so I am interested in the process of acceptance, for any kind of difference. I lived in Japan for 10 years (including a small town for four years- this play takes place in a small town) and know what it feels like to be the 'outsider/gaijin', and how hard it is to break through. This play deals with these issues. So, I'm gay, I have lived in a small town environment and am currently living in a Christchurch that has lost its identity and is struggling to rebuild it for ourselves and for those on the outside. Laramie is doing just that. Are you doing anything different with it? While I have kept it pretty simple (it's the characters who are the stars of this show), I have added a few touches to the beginning which will confront the audience. What have been the biggest challenges? We have a cast of 14 playing around 75 roles. So for the cast, trying to differentiate those characters and find the truth in them has been a real journey. They have done so well. I am very proud of them. We have a range of very inexperienced to highly experienced people in the play, as you do in amateur theatre, and they have really brought their all to this play. There are some real stand-out performances. How do you think Christchurch audiences will react? I hope they will think about the journey that New Zealand has been on when it comes to equality on all levels. The questions we want to ask are; How far have we come? How much further do we have to go? In relation to the issue of sexual equality, though we have gay marriage in New Zealand now, but does that mean we are all ok with it? And in relation to our city - how do we redefine our identity in the wake of the tragedy we have experienced? How do we change how people outside of our city perceive our city? I think it brings forth the above questions. But I think the opportunity to learn is even more relevant for the USA where progress on these issues is far behind where we are in New Zealand. There are so many more challenges there, powerful ones that halt or stall progress on multiple levels. For them especially, this play remains remarkably relevant. Buy tickets here Craig Ogilvie, with - 2nd March 2014    
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