DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -- The Dobbs Ferry High School Theater Arts class will cap off "Respect For All" week by performing the true-life drama "The Laramie Project" at 7 p.m. Friday in the school auditorium.
The Theater Arts class, directed by Georgia DeFalco, will perform the play that details the brutal hate-crime beating of Mathew Shepard in 1998. The play is the culminating activity in a week of events spearheaded by the school's Gay/Straight Alliance Club.
“I decided to do "The Laramie Project" after reading the play and being deeply moved by the story,” said DeFalco, the schools Music and Theater Director. “The students in the class come from different levels of acting experience, so we spent the first part of the semester building up skills, including physical, vocal, and character work."
DeFalco said the students presented a monologue to the class after studying and working on the play for weeks.
"After that, I cast them in various roles of the play, literally, various roles because each actor plays two or more real-life characters," DeFalco said.
Students have been wearing designated colored clothing each day to show support for the “Respect for All” week.
The week's activities were intended to promote tolerance and respect for diversity and engage students in meaningful dialogue and activities that focus on preventing bias-based harassment, intimidation and bullying.
The school district’s “Dignity for All Students” policy strictly prohibits students from bullying other students for any reason.
Mathew Shepard was the victim of a homophobic hate crime that left the small town of Laramie, Wyoming reeling. A month after the murder, the members of Tectonic Theater Project traveled to Laramie and conducted interviews with the people of the town. The Project wrote the "The Laramie Project", which they later made into a film for HBO.
DFHS Teaching Assistant and GSA advisor Cory Conley, a playwright himself, is the play's Artistic Director.
The play’s cast includes Julia Battistin, Matthew McCormick, Jeremy Sipe, Bridget Guice, Chloe Ann Reandelar, Isabelle Knezevic, Jeanne Skulstad, Sifael Manongi, and Arthur Whelan. Each student plays several parts in the play.
The actors are suggesting a $3 donation at the door to support this week’s “Respect for All” activities.