"Say it Right": Two Catholic High Schools in Conversation about The Laramie Project

Over the next few months, LaramieProject.org will host an online forum between two Catholic High Schools as they rehearse and perform productions of The Laramie Project. Participating in the conversation will be St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, CA and Malvern Preparatory School in Malvern, PA.

Each week a new question will be posted so participating students can respond to the prompts and also to their peers' reactions. We hope this forum becomes a platform for a meaningful cross-country dialogue, establishing these schools as allies as they start important dialogues within their school and home communities. Tectonic sends support and love to both schools and looks forward to engaging in a timely and necessary exchange.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWqwo1GPY5I

Here is our promo video for St. Bosco's production of The Laramie Project on Oct. 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, and 19th. Break a Leg!

Malvern Cast, I am extremely proud of you and your efforts in composing this beautiful video for St. John Bosco's production.

All my best for a successful run St. John Bosco. We, at Malvern, will be thinking about you and sending you many positive thoughts and prayers your way for a successful run.

Amazing job, Malvern! Thank you for all of your work in making this for the St. Bosco production. It was clearly made with a lot of love and support. Let the conversation continue!

Thank you so much, Malvern, for the video and all of your kind thoughts :) We will be thinking of you all throughout our run! 

Hi Guys...I am Martin Lang and I am directing "Laramie" at St. John Bosco High School.  To Jim and all the students at Malvern and Notre Dame your promo video is beautiful and thank you so much for your time and dedication to helping us open the show.  We open in less than a week so things are a little crazy but St. John Bosco and our sister school St. Joseph's will broadcast the video school wide this coming Friday to a wide audience.    We think of you often and as we begin the final stretch we will rely on your good vibes and prayers as we attempt to truthfully and lovingly tell Laramie's story.  

I watched it Friday, and i apologize for not thanking you guys before now. We entered tech week, and well that in itself can explain a lot. Kate and I watched it together and goodness gracious that was really creative. It's an amazing video and just want to say I heard a few of my lines while we watched it I like fan-girled a bit XD. Thank you all for putting in the time and effort to do this for us :)

Week #3: What are some of the challenges you've had/ are having in rehearsal bringing this play to life? Is there a particular character or Moment that has proven problematic? How are you working to find these more difficult elements in your production?

MALVERN: I think that the biggest challenge for me was definitely the "Character Inception". It's not just a show where you get to make up your character. I, a Malvern student, am portraying a Member of the Tectonic Theatre Company, who is portraying Doc O'Connor. I think after having talked to Andy Paris about this through the video chat, this was made clearer. 

I think that one of the most problematic scenes for me, as the Baptist Minister, is saying the last line of his phone conversation with Amanda. He says, "I hope that he, as he was tied to that fence, that he had a chance to reflect on his lifestyle". This is my hardest line to say, in all of the theatre that I have done, because it is so far against what I believe. In Theatre Class, we learned about emotional memory, and this line has so much memory for me that I can use to portray this character.

In eighth grade, on a field trip to the Naval Academy, we went to Mass and heard what I thought was to be the one sermon that I almost walked out of. The Father said that being gay is "a stain on the heart", and to hear that with few theological background on Catholic morality just made me wonder how people so rooted in love, such as a minister, can have preach so much hate (I also did not have a Catholic morality class before the trip, so I interpreted the sermon as "God hates gay people").

Every time I say those lines as the Baptist Minister, that eighth grade sermon replays in my mind, and I try to transfer that memory to better the scene.

(Sorry if I got off track!)

Hi, Andrew!

I totally agree with that. It's been hard to listen to/play characters with such polar opposite beliefs than my own. I tend to internalize things a lot when I act, and I really have to walk the thin line between my character and myself when I'm on stage or else my emotions will get the best of me!

The most difficult thing thus far, for me, has been the overall movement of the words of the show. This play is unlike anything else I have done in the sense that it moves in its own way. There are so many character arcs, plot arcs, and quick hair-pin turns between moments, that I find myself flustered sometimes. We are in the process of our final run-throughs so these problems are all being smoothed out. I just want to give this show everything that it deserves because it speaks such a great message!! :)

As a director, I found the staging and prop selection to be difficult. There are only a couple stage directions in the script, so we really had to figure it out on our own. We also realized that too many or too few props could be problematic. We want the story to do most of the talking without having to use props. It is tough to decide what is needed and what isn't.

Bosco: Hello, my name is Miguel Chavez. I am the Assistant Director for 'The Laramie Project'. We started 'Tech Week' on Saturday and our most difficult thing with lights is the quick dialogue between some of the characters. We keep doing 'run-throughs' of the play and fix the problems we have along the way. As a tech person more than cast member, I think a personal challenge from the beginning is having the cast stay motivated and try to feel the sense that they are in Wyoming. They are portraying that charcter during a different time periods. Moises talks about them having phones, but cell-phones were as advance as they are today. Media traveled by TV versus the internet and social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.). The difference shows, and when they would ask me for advice with props and costumes, I would try to steer them in that direction. 

Break a leg, St. Bosco! I know you'll have an incredible opening night.

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