Submitted by Charlton Stanley (Otteray Scribe), Guest Blogger
The Laramie Project is a play by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project about the torture-murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student in 1998. Mutilated and almost dead, he was found tied to a barbed wire fence just outside Laramie, Wyoming. That fence was the inspiration for the play’s logo. Matthew Shepard died of his injuries shortly after being taken to a local hospital. The murder was called a hate crime, but in 1998 there were few hate crime laws, and there was none in Wyoming.
Shortly after Matthew Shepard was killed, Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project went to Laramie and interviewed dozens of local people about the murder. The play draws on over 400 hours of interviews with residents of Laramie, as well as company members’ own journal entries and published news reports. The Laramie Project is divided into three acts. Eight actors portray more than sixty characters in a series of short scenes.
The play has been performed all over the US and internationally as well. Venues have included high schools, colleges, and community theaters across the US. As of this writing, The Laramie Project has also been performed at professional playhouses in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Not surprisingly, Fred Phelps and his merry band of haters have frequently picketed The Laramie Project.