Indiana theater group drops The Laramie Project

BY Advocate.com Editors

June 09 2003 11:00 PM ET

A Princeton, Ind., theater group has abandoned plans to stage The Laramie Project, a play about the reaction of a rural Wyoming community to the killing of Matthew Shepard in 1998. Gibson Southern High School drama teacher Matt Hart said the theater group had intended to put on the play until some ministers began protesting what would have been the group's first performance.

Charlie Dietz, minister of the Princeton Christian Church, said he was worried the play would promote the acceptance of homosexuality. "We believe what the Bible teaches--that [homosexuality] is a sin," Dietz told the Princeton Daily Clarion. "We abhor the death of Mr. Shepard that the play is written around. But we would not in any way endorse or condone homosexuality."

Hart had told cast members that the play contains some rough language and that he was sensitive to community standards. Still, Hart was reluctant to edit the script. Organizers had said the script--involving the verbatim reactions of townsfolk--did not promote homosexuality, nor was homosexuality the main theme. Dietz said he and others in Princeton, located about 25 miles north of Evansville, would "like to see a community theater here, where we could go and enjoy a good, wholesome play."

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