Cathy Renna

Remorse, love, and how we tell our stories

Filed By Cathy Renna | September 29, 2009 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Media
Tags: hate crimes against LGBT people, Matthew Shepard, theater

The is a article on the AP wire this morning about Aaron McKInney, one of the young men convicted of killing Matthew Shepard. It focuses on interviews with him that are part of the new Laramie Project 10 years later: An Epilogue, that will be performed in over 150 theaters on October 12, 2009.

(Full disclosure: I am on the board of Tectonic Theater and worked on this piece with a journalist I respect a great deal, David Crary. The headline is that Aaron has no remorse for killing Matt and also some disparaging things to say about Judy Shepard, both of which anger and sadden me. How do we create Aaron McKinneys in our society? Here's the piece, you be the judge.)

Matthew Shepard's murder has been with me from morning of October 6, the morning they found him and my phone and email was inundated. I have written, spoken and presented innumerable times about Matt's death, and I often am amazed that his story still garners the interest it does. It was certainly not an isolated incident, as any ant-violence advocate will tell you.

I have written on Bilerico before about this issue, so in this post I want to ask everyone who reads this to try and attend a performance of the Epilogue of the Laramie Project. There are productions in every state (multiple in some states) and many are free or low cost. You can find a local production at and read more about this amazing project and the theatrical history that will be made to honor Matt and the meaning his story has taken on in this country (and beyond).

You will be surprised at what you see - the impact on Laramie, the challenges the town faced and still faces, how history can be rewritten by so many people willing to discard the real facts for their own comfort. You will also get the facts - the irrefutable facts. And you will hear the voices of real people telling their stories. As the Federal Theater Project did during the great Depression, this evening will create a nation - actually world - wide experience. I hope you join us.

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It appears that for the performance in NYC at Lincoln Center, tickets are a minimum of $100 and they go up to $2500. I'm sure it's a fundraiser or good cause of some kind, but as a practical matter the price means the audience will probably be comprised of a fairly narrow band of LGBT New Yorkers.

yes, the NY event is more costly - as you can imagine, a space of adequate size etc in NY is impossible to come by for free. and Tectonic, is covering a lot of the expenses for the web hook-up with the other performances, an as a non-profit we need to have this performance be charged. there are some $35 student tickets - if you are interested email me at [email protected] and I would be happy to help out


I can't wait to see it, Cathy. Thanks for telling us about it.


I'm organizing a reading of the play here in Halifax, Nova Scotia and I feel so privileged to share in this magnificent event! The play is beautiful, powerful and moving in ways that are so different from the original. I suspect that Epilogue will share with The Laramie Project an enduring place in American theatrical life. The dedication that everyone at Tectonic Theater Project has put into this from the script to all of the support material we've been given is inspiring.

Our reading is a benefit for the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project. We hope to link with Alice Tully Hall, but even if we don't there will be lively discussion in Halifax! As part of our press release I prepared a sample list of violent homophobic and transphobic attacks that have occurred across Canada in the last 12 months. The work never seems to end!

However, I really just wanted to say thanks to you for your service to Tectonic Theater, and to the more than 1,000 of my fellow actors out there who are participating in readings and productions of Epilogue, "Break a leg!"