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Kaneland Arts Initiative to present ‘The Laramie Project’

MAPLE PARK – Maria Dripps-Paulson understands that having just one role in a theater production can be challenging for actors, so preparing for “The Laramie Project” has been especially difficult for the cast of a upcoming show at Kaneland High School.

Each of the 11 cast members will portray multiple characters, she said, describing it as a “huge challenge.”

Composed of a series of monologues, “The Laramie Project” is the story of the residents of Laramie, Wyo., and their lives after Matthew Shepard was murdered in 1998. Shepard, who was gay, was brutally beaten, tied to a fence and left to die.

Friday, the drama will open to audiences in Kaneland High School’s Black Box Theatre, making it the first production to ever be performed in that space, said Dripps-Paulson, executive director of the Kaneland Arts Initiative.

Performances are set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Because of limited seating – the theater can seat 92 per show – Dripps-Paulson recommends attendees reserve tickets by contacting her at 630-365-5100, ext. 180, or The cost is $10 for adults and $8 for senior citizens and students.

Because of the subject matter, the play is not recommended for children younger than middle-school age, Dripps-Paulson said.

The Kaneland Arts Initiative selected the play as its first winter theater production for two reasons, she said. Its artistic director, Diane McFarlin, was in past productions and understands the drama’s message about acceptance and tolerance, Dripps-Paulson said.

Also, she said, the Kindness Campaign wanted to partner with the initiative. The Kindness Campaign is an organization that has worked to combat bullying in the Kaneland School District.

The Kaneland Arts Initiative and the Kindness Campaign will lead a discussion after each performance for interested audience members.

Visit for information.

If you go

What: “The Laramie Project”

When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Black Box Theatre at Kaneland High School, 47W326 Keslinger Road, Kaneville. Enter through door 32.

Tickets: $10 for adults, $8 for students and senior citizens. Limited seating. Reserve tickets at 630-365-5100, ext. 180, or

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