The Laramie Project: A Step Forward

By Mark Ballaro 13’
EE Staff Writer

“Go home. Hug your kids…And don’t let a day go without telling them you love them.” These words come from a heartbroken mother after the tragic death of her son, Matthew Shepard. The Laramie Project, a play written by Moises Kaufman, is based off the true story in Laramie, Wyoming, where five journalists take the trip to find out what happened.

Matthew Shepard, an openly gay male, was at a bar one night and asked two men for a ride home. These two men happened to be against homosexuality and decided to kidnap and torture Shepard. They took him out to a field, tied him to a fence, and brutally beat him up. They left him stranded, and did not call for help. Luckily, someone found him the next day, however after a short period of time in the hospital, Matthew died from his injuries.

This play documents numerous interviews ranging from the victim’s family, the accused of the crime, friends of both sides, and people living in the town of Laramie. As the play goes on, so does the trial for both of the defendants, as well as the lives of those who were hurt by this horrific act of violence.

In addition, the play shows how the residents of Laramie stood behind Matthew and his family, as over 100 people marched behind a banner in his name during the homecoming parade. It revealed how one community could come together to support a cause, even after such a tragic event.

A priest from the local church showed his support during an interview. He said, “People don’t realize the hurt they cause to others. It’s not just the physical violence, it includes the name calling. Those are just as hurtful and cause just as much pain inside.”

Without a doubt, I recommend this play. The Laramie Project receives a 4.5 out of 5. It is suitable for both males and females in high school or older. The story gives people hope, by showing the audience that even after this terrible crime, there are still people who care. It is easy to get wrapped up in a story like this, and so people need to remember that this actually happened. It needs to be recognized and Matthew Shepard needs to be remembered.

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