Clipped From The Californian

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 - School does play despite protest Newark...
School does play despite protest Newark students to act out story of Matthew Shcpard, a gay man who was killed in Wyo. By Angela Watercutter The Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO A fundamentalist group has promised to picket the event, but Newark Memorial High School is committed to performing a play based the life of Matthew Shep-ard, a Wyoming college student murdered because he was gay. Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., said Tuesday that it plans to picket the Newark school's production of "The Laramie Project." Jack Roach, the school's principal, said Friday the show will go on. He says the school has already received support from parents and community members and the students are excited about the chance to perform the play and the attention it's received. "This has not been grief for us," Roach said. "This has been one of the best things to happen (at the school) in years." The East Bay Network, a local gay and lesbian organization, has already applauded the school's efforts. In a prepared statement, members praised the school for its "courageous decision to perform the powerful and controversial play." The church group says it will fly about 10 to 15 members to Newark to picket the play, which opens Nov. 8. They plan to arrive at the school, approximately 30 miles south of Oakland, about an hour before each show with signs condemning homosexuality, according to Shirley Phelps-Roper, a lawyer for Westboro Baptist and daughter of founder the Rev. Fred Phelps. "We picket a lot of (these kinds of productions)," Phelps-Roper said. "Because you've got a bunch of impressionable young people and they need to hear the truth of God." Phelps-Roper said it is the "religion of the homosexual" that being gay is acceptable. - -vV- - ... i :..;.feJS. 'This has not been grief for us. This has been one of the best things to happen (at the school) in years.' Jack Roach, school principal THE ASSOCIATED PRESS David Wood, 1 4, a freshman, left rehearses a scene Thursday with senior Kevin Williams, 1 7, at Newark Memorial High School in Newark. "They want to get a hold of the little people, pushing the notion that it's OK to be gay," she said. Barbara Williams, a drama teacher at the school and the director of the play, said that the students are "excited to do something so meaningful." "I've never seen a group come together and be so cohesive," Williams said. "The students are appalled that (someone like Phelps) even exists." Phelps is a character in "The Laramie Project" who shouts anti-gay slurs at Shepard's funeral. Uncommon Commitment Gerry Bennett Steinbeck ieal estate 759-2862 ERA Sr1 V' "" A A - 4'' ;j vr2 V 3 &fkppy SO 1 irt(iday! (fib Our The play is a retrospective on the murder of the 21-year-old gay college student, told from perspective of the citizens of Laramie, Wyo., where he was living in 1998 when he was killed. "The Laramie Project" was honored as one of the best plays of 2000 by Time Magazine and HBO's adaptation of it has been nominated for a Made for Television Movie Emmy this year. The authors of the play released rights to its performance last spring, allowing it to be performed for the first time by amateurs. Roach said Newark may be one of the first high schools to perform the piece, although they won't be for long. Another high school, Bishop O'Dowd, a Catholic school in Oakland, plans to open its own production the following weekend. Roach, who said the church faxed disturbing fliers to the school, is determined to turn the protest into a positive event. "I want (Phelps) to autograph copies of his hate mail that he faxed us," Roach said. "Then we'll auction them off as a fundraiser." Salinas Transmission -Since 1975- Staimdard Transmission Differentials. OverDrive Clutches Too! IraBHeigfiHIfrgf. iMMhmOJMMtMflB I J? W Vt f "' ttaj) 1st (Anniversary tgifteauti'fjul! Jb mjf GweQ wife. Qangou CeCieve its aCreaS Seen a gear. 3t sti(T seems Cifie a dream since we qot married. SfOme you V rVi initv imth on'li tticoinr nnil

Clipped from
  1. The Californian,
  2. 21 Sep 2002, Sat,
  3. Page 20

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