As part of the 2010-2011 Platt House Theatre Fellows program, award-winning playwright and director Moises Kaufman— perhaps best known for writing “The Laramie Project,” about the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, an openly gay college student who was beaten and left to die lashed to a fence in Laramie, Wyo.—will give a public talk at the Harold Prince Theatre in the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut St., on Wednesday, Oct. 13.
The Fellows program allows the best and brightest of the theater world to spend up to two days on campus connecting in a variety of ways with the Penn community through events that include guest lectures, master classes, public presentations and private meals with selected students.
Kaufman's lecture, scheduled for 6 p.m., is free and open to the public, although reservations are required and can be made at the Annenberg Center Box Office. The event is part of a six-week focus on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LBGTQ) issues titled “Laramie and Beyond.”
Kaufman, artistic director of the New York-based Tectonic Theater Project, is slated to speak about “Theatre for a New Millennium.”
His most recent play “33 Variations,” starring Jane Fonda, was nominated for five Tony awards. He also directed the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play, “I Am My Own Wife,” which won an Obie Award and received Tony and Drama Desk award nominations.
“The Laramie Project” has become one of the most performed plays in America. The story is based on interviews Tectonic Theater Project actors conducted with Laramie residents in 2000, two years after Shepard’s murder. Kaufman also directed the television adaptation for HBO.
A decade later, Tectonic returned to Laramie and spoke to the same residents to get their long-term perspective on the Shepard incident. Those interviews informed a new play, “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later,” an epilogue to the original.
In November, both productions will be performed in the Annenberg Center’s Zellerbach Theatre. On Thursday, Nov. 11, Tectonic performs “The Laramie Project” at 7 p.m.; on Friday, Nov. 12, they perform “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later” at 8 p.m.
Visitors can also see both plays on the same day: On Saturday, Nov. 13, “The Laramie Project” runs at 2 p.m. and “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later” shows at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $20-$50.
To purchase tickets for the plays or for more information about the November performances, call the Annenberg Center Box Office at 215-898-3900.