The Laramie Project

Originally a play written by Moisés Kaufman of the Tectonic Theater Project in New York City, it was eventually turned into an HBO movie.

The Laramie Project is a docudrama about the Matthew Shepard case in Laramie, Wyoming. The play was researched by moving the entire Tectonic Theater Group from NYC to Laramie, where they lived in the town for a time, and interviewed the people who were involved. They interviewed townspeople, local church leaders, friends and family of Matthew, and others who didn't know him.

The actual content of the play consists of interviews and short scenes from the town. It is designed for each actor to have five or six parts (the number of characters is quite large), and to flow in and out of those parts as they take turns portraying both interviewer and interviewee.

On the surface, the play is about a small town that was invaded by negative media and public outrage over a hate crime. But behind the dialog, the play is about self-evaluation and the loss of innocence. Many of the characters are faced with tough decisions regarding right and wrong. The town itself is no longer able to be the simple, small, happy town it has always been. The people are forced to face the ugliness of the feelings that exist among them.

The play is very somber, very stirring, and if done right, can make a person rethink their entire perspective on good and evil.

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