The Arts Get Political
Four arts events this month put politics at center stage
After a seemingly never-ending campaign season, the election is finally here — and so are four performances and exhibits that put political and cultural issues at center stage.
The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later
The murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in 1998 captured the nation’s attention and sparked urgent and passionate calls for improved hate-crime legislation. It also inspired playwright Moisés Kaufman and his colleagues from the Tectonic Theater Project to travel to Laramie, Wyoming, to conduct hundreds of interviews and try to make sense of the murder’s aftershocks in the conservative community where it occurred. The resulting play, “The Laramie Project,” is a powerful piece of contemporary theatre in which a small troupe of actors portrays more than 60 characters in stark, confessional style.
The Anselmian Abbey Players of Manchester’s St. Anselm College staged the work in 2012, and, this month, they present the play’s companion project. This epilogue was born of Kaufman’s return to Laramie in 2008 to reinterview his subjects and observe how the town — like the country — had changed in the decade since Shepard’s death. In today’s charged political climate, this production (thought to be the groundbreaking play’s first in New Hampshire) is a must-see. Landis Magnuson directs.
$12-$14. 7:30 p.m., Dana Center for the Humanities, 100 St. Anselm Dr., Manchester. (603) 641-7700
2016, A State of Mind
November 1-December 10
Between the election circus and the rise of hot-button issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement, 2016 has been quite the year. In this exhibition, 80 artists from the Boston Printmakers display works that muse on the big stories of the remarkable last 11 months.
Free. Tue-Fri 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Lamont Gallery at the Frederick R. Mayer Art Center, 11 Tan Ln., Exeter. (603) 777-3461
Your fondest memories of Peter, Paul and Mary may be their lighthearted, PBS-special-era performances of “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” but don’t forget that the trio was, at heart, a protest band. Peter Yarrow, the songwriting force behind songs such as “Day Is Done” and “The Great Mandala,” gives an intimate performance of his greatest hits, while recounting tales from his life as an activist and musician.
$28-$38. 8 p.m., Rochester Opera House, 31 Wakefield St., Rochester. (603) 335-1992
This Tony- and Pulitzer-winning play may have debuted 20 years ago, but its explorations of class, sexual and gender orientation, and AIDS advocacy are as fresh today as they were in 1996. See this anniversary tour production to enjoy numbers like “Seasons of Love” and be reminded why Jonathan Larson’s masterwork is a cultural touchstone as well as beloved musical.
$35-$100. 7:30 p.m., Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord. (603) 225-1111