The Laramie Project

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 1st Jul 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Theatre

The Laramie Project is a wonderful thought provoking play about a young man who was murdered because he was gay.

The Laramie Project

As you know I have been posting articles from my book: Picking Up the Pieces: A Woman’s Journey. Therefore, many of you are just really getting to know me from the point of view of my past. However, every now and then I will be posting what is currently happening in my life. Today I had a wonderful outing. I went to see an amazing play called the “Laramie Project” at John Abbot College in Ste. Anne de Bellevue which is at the western tip of the Island of Montreal. It is about a two hour bus ride from me. The play was put on by the drama department and I have to say the acting was wonderful.

Senseless murder

The Laramie Project is about the second degree murder of Matthew Sheppard, a gay student from the University of Wyoming. Matt as he was called, lived in Laramie, Wyoming.

The case happened in October 1998, after which a New York theatre group compiled witness testimonials and produced the play. The story commences with an overview of the town of Laramie and how the residents feel about their town. Most townspeople tell how wonderful it is in Laramie; better than most Midwest towns in America.

The community really has a sense of deep pride. However, a horrible thing happened in Laramie which some people of Laramie would like to forget. Matthew Sheppard was a guy student living in Laramie who would frequent bars in nearby Colorado.

He would go to the bars in Colorado because Laramie did not have any bars especially bars where gay people could go. Two young guys (21-years-of-age) came into the bar and looked suspicious to the bartender. Matt was drunk and was seen leaving with the guys. The testimony came out that he was looking for a ride home.

A Laramie resident decided to go out bike riding 18 hours after the events that happened in the bar. The biker said he really didn’t know why he took the route that he did. It was not one he had ever taken before. However, this new route which he later said was because of divine intervention led him to the scene of the crime. He saw a body lying on the ground, after further investigation he saw Matt lying on the ground battered and bloody and tied to the waist by a rope attached to a fence. His shoes were missing and he was barely breathing. The biker rushed to the nearest home and they called the police.

Matthew was taken to hospital and was put on a life support machine. He died on October 12, 1998. The play reenacted the testimony of 70 witnesses who were present at the trials. The play not only told the story but delved into the issue of hate crimes. It was very touching.

The townspeople made comments such as. “This sort of thing doesn’t happen here.” However, these people were in denial because it did happen in Laramie their not so perfect little town. Others said the media was twisting it around making it into a gay rights issue when it was a murder like any other. Still others were deeply affected by the events that happened that night. Word got out all over the world. Vigils were held all over the world for Matthew Sheppard. This tragedy touched on many levels:

The second degree murder charge for the killing of a gay young man
The apathy of some of the townspeople
The denial that this horrendous event occurred and that homophobia was not at the root of the murder.
The end of life for three young men of twenty one: Matthew and his two murderers. These young men now will spend their entire life in prison.

A play that will make you think

These murderers didn’t really understand why they did it or the magnitude of a hate crime murder. One of them testified that Matthew made advances on him and he hated gays. Then there is the senseless denial of their culpability; because Matthew put his hand on the one of his assailants legs, it was okay to beat him senseless and leave him tied to a fence to suffer for 18 hours and then to die in the hospital.

The play even explored the religious perspective of Midwestern Baptists Roman Catholic, and Mormon viewpoints of the townspeople.

Whether you agree with homosexuality or you don’t, the Laramie Project is play that will make most people think.

All photos taken from the public domain
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Gay Rights, Homosexuality, Homosexuals, Murder Of A Gay Man, Murder Of Gays, Plays, Review Of Laramie Project, Review Of Play, The Laramie Project, Theater, Theatre, Theatre In Montreal

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar Retired
2nd Jul 2015 (#)

An interesting project and an interesting article.

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