Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending Golda Och Academy’s production of The Laramie Project. For those of you that don’t know, The Laramie Project is a play about the murder of Matthew Shepherd, a gay college student from Laramie Wyoming. The show chronicles the community’s response to this brutal hate crime.
Golda Och Academy was the first place I ever worked. After watching this show, it made me more proud than ever to have worked at such a great place. Under the direction of Jordan Herskowitz, the students at this small Jewish school brought this hate crime to life. These students, so full of love and light, showed the audience what it would look like if they allowed their lives to be governed by hate and ignorance.
This show was also significant because it was the first performance of the Laramie Project by a Jewish school. Although the students are very accepting, there have not been a lot of students that have felt comfortable enough to live openly gay lives at school. I hope that this show will create opportunities for all of them to live in a way that they feel comfortable. As one of the students mentioned in the talkback, the goal is not to turn the students into gay rights activists, but to just accept one another regardless of sexuality.
At the end of Act II, the actor playing Matthew Shepherd’s mother said, “ Go home, give your kids a hug, and don’t let a day go by without telling them that you love them.” At that moment, I looked around the theater and I saw a lot of crying audience members. I was reminded of what a special community I was visiting. There are a lot of people in the world that are not raised in such a loving and accepting environment. Please forgive me for sounding preachy and hippy-like, but I hope that the GOA students will continue to spread their love so that the people they influence will choose this way of life.
Congrats to the cast, crew, and GOA community on a great show!