The Laramie Project – Summary
On October 6, 1998, in a supposedly secluded and quiet city of Laramie, Wyoming, Matthew Shepard, an “out” gay 21 year-old, was tied to a fence on the outskirts of town and beaten savagely. Left to die by the two men who kidnapped him and also robbed him, Matthew died six days later in a coma in a hospital surrounded by family and friends. During the time while in coma and moths following his death, a massive uprising for gay rights and non-discrimination acts rose in Matthew’s name. Using this moment in history as a fulcrum, the gay community rose up to make this accident known to all of US and more. As some chose to protest and others chose publicly speak of their view on Matthew’s death, a theatre project decided to delve in a little deeper and chose to spread their view with actions rather than words.
The Laramie Project is a play acted out by the members of the Tectonic Theatre Project and was later turned into a movie to showcase its meaning further. It shows the travels of five members of the Tectonic Theatre Project to Laramie, Wyoming, as they sought out to gather more information on Matthew’s death for the creation of the upcoming play. Shunned by some of the people they questioned and sometimes brutally treated by the people who viewed them with contempt, the five member s with the thirst to know more endured tons to reveal the truth. The characters themselves appearing in the movie are fake but the words they speak cannot be more real. Using actors to put voice in to hundreds of interview held by the theatre with the residents of Laramie and more, The Laramie Project set out and accomplished combining the acting aspect with the truth. Some of these truth factor in the movie include the hundreds of interviews with real people, the five members’ private journal entries detailing their search, and the published news reports of the accident and more. The coming together of all these findings of the Tectonic Theatre Project helped put voice to the silenced voice of Matthew Shepard and allowed many from across US to take a look closer to the silencing or Matthew and others of Laramie.