The Laramie Project

The Laramie Project - Tectonic Theater Project, Moisés Kaufman I have to say that I have not read a play in a long time. I think it has been since I was in graduate school for my English studies graduate work. This play is coming to our town, and I wanted to read it before I went to see the performance. I am glad I did. The play covers the event of Matthew Shepard's murder in Laramie, Wyoming in 1999. But the play is not about the murder itself. It is more about the townspeople and how they responded to the play. It is about how bigotry and ignorance live in a town even when the town prides itself on a "live and let live" attitude. That attitude often boils down to "if you do not tell me you are gay, I will not have to beat the crap out of you." Not exactly very tolerant, charitable, or "live and let live." This play has great moments where you see the evils that people are capable of, but it also has great moments where you see the compassion that people can be capable of. The play is set up as a series of interviews by the theater company at the town of Laramie. They basically went there and talked to the people. Some people were more willing to talk than others. It is a minimalist play in the sense that it is made for an intimate theater space, the kind of small theater where the audience can be close to the actors. There are little props, and the actors play multiple roles because in the end, it is about suggesting a scene, not recreating it. In the end, it is the words and the response that matter. The space not so much, and this is so because, when it comes down to it, this is not just a play about LGBT issues. It is a play about every town in the United States. It is a play about every community that says, "it could never happen here," only to find out that, not only it can and does happen, but the evils of ignorance and bigotry emerge with ease. It is a play that will make some think about the values they teach their children, and it is a play that will make people think and look at themselves, then look at their communities. It is about us.