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The Laramie Project

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  8,489 ratings  ·  228 reviews
For a year and a half following the murder of Matthew Shepard, Moisés Kaufman and his Tectonic Theater Project–whose previous play, Gross Indecency, was hailed as a work of unsurpassed originality–conducted hundreds of interviews with the citizens of Laramie, Wyoming, to create this portrait of a town struggling with a horrific event.

The savage killing of Shepard, a young
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Hardcover, 112 pages
Published September 11th 2001 by Turtleback Books (first published January 1st 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Claire
Every American should read or see this play. Period. And everyone else should read it too. It is a beautiful, sad, haunting funny biography of a town trying to cope with tragedy. The unsparing honesty of the words, which are taken directly from first-person interviews with real Laramie residents, takes this play out of the realm of Really Good Theatre into something even higher; it's a mirror through which we see ourselves.

I directed this play in Ireland in a town similar to Laramie, and simila
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Jared Tester
I often find myself taking notes on books while I read them. Although this is, of course, a paperback play. it. too became covered in my notes.

What I'll always remember is arguing - one sidedly and in the margins of this paperback - with a Laramie resident who complained about the level of coverage Matthew Shepard's death received relative to that of a Laramie law enforcement officer who lost his life around the same time.

"We lost one of ours," the woman - who is herself the wife of a Laramie hi
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Jabiz Raisdana
It's passed midnight and I have been reading this play all night. Just finished it. There are two plays in the version we have actually-- the original and The Laramie Project- Ten Years Later- Both were gripping.

This is a crucial play for any one interested in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Trans-Gendered)rights. It begs us to question our understanding of tolerance and acceptance. While some of the language and content is course and mature for middle school readers, the main themes of deali
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Brenda
Matthew Shepard was a gay young man who was brutally beaten, tied to a fence post and left to die a slow, painful death in a small, Wyoming town. His killers were two young men around his age -- one was a Mormon.

When Shepard's murder saturated the media, I felt the usual disgust with the world that I do every time I hear of stuff like this. But I had a hard time bringing myself to read about what happened. It took a reading assignment in a class to get me to read The Laramie Project.

The Laramie
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Paula Guinto
These plays were easy to read because of their telling. Kaufman and his crew did a great job curating what seems to me, an honest tale of what happened in Laramie years ago and then ten years later. I found that they were able to touch on the most sensitive bits, the silence and shame, to the hardest, most complex and the important aspects of a community fighting for who it thinks it is to what happens after all that's been said and done. The "truth" always emerges and many run away from it.

Hav
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lisa
on October 7, 1998, just outside the small town of Laramie, Wyoming, Matthew Shepard was found beaten and left for dead, very literally.both the play and the movie,The Laramie Project, are responses to that murder.

"The essential facts are that the defendants, Aaron James McKinney and Russell Arthur Henderson, met Matthew Shepard at the Fireside Bar, and after Mr. Shepard confided that he was gay, the subjects deceived Mr. Shepard into leaving with them in their vehicle to a remote area. Upon arr
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Rose
This book, or should I say play, was okay. The book was an attempt to give first hand accounts of what happened with the tragic murder of Matt Shepherd. I did not feel that book was totally biased, because it was composed of mostly interviews. However after doing a little more research, especially on the recent developments that 20/20 discovered, I feel like there is a lot of hype and the death of this boy is being used as a political move. Can't we mourn the death of this college kid because he ...more
Joey
Unexpectedly moving. The Laramie Project isn't really about homosexuality or the Matt Shepard murder- it's bigger than that. The play lays out viewpoints of different sorts of people in society in a way that is unbiased and yet encouraging of self reflection, and motivates change without actually calling for change. It really opened my mind and kind of changed my perspective on the death penalty and religion and humanity in general. The Laramie Project is going stay with me for a long while... e ...more
Trisha
I read this because I am the faculty sponsor for the Gay-Straight Alliance, and we were putting on the play last Spring. Wow. The play (not in the traditional sense) is a record of the Tectonic Theatre Group's interactions and interviews with people who had a connection to the death of Matthew Shephard, a man brutally murdered because of his sexual orientation. Reading this play was powerful, and I must admit I shed a tear or two (and I am not a crying kind of gal). While the torture and murder ...more
Richard
I first read this play years ago...not two long after it became a theatrical hit. Still very moving play. Apparently, it's one of the most produced play in America. I auditioned for the Foothill College production because it's similar to a play I'm writing, it's close to my office, and I was itching to act and meet new people. So I got cast as FRED PHELPS - the awful creep who is the patriarch of the Westboro Baptist Church. It's always fun to play the bad guy...Looking forward to performing in ...more
Ashlei
First, let me make it clear that I typically pick apart writing at the seams and criticize it thoroughly, but I don't think that's possible with this read. The only problem I had with The Laramie Project was that I couldn't put it down for long enough to do my house chores. The Laramie Project is a script-based book derived from interviews with the townspeople of Laramie, Wyoming, speaking about the hate homicide of Matthew Shepard. Shepard was a 21 year old who was brutally killed by two other ...more
EmmaJansonAuthor
Aug 16, 2015 EmmaJansonAuthor rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Limited Audience
The Laramie Project was a compilation of documentary style transcripts about a local tragedy that were cut and reassembled into a theatrical performance piece - admittedly NOT in the expected format where one would read it as a traditional play. The transcripts were predominately from interviews of people involved in the case and members of the community of Laramie, Wyoming. Some factual transcripts were interjected from police reports and the trials of the two accused.

That being stated, I can't
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Jon
Easily one of the most powerful plays ever written.
Alison
This was such a powerful and honest painting of a very controversial event. The play is more of a theater experience and not a play; it takes the form of interviews throughout Laramie on the subject of Matthew Shephard's death and his attackers' trial. This group of theater geniuses interviewed almost everybody relevant, so I really felt like I was getting a complete picture of the situation, the good and the bad. It interested me how so many people interviewed said things like "I don't hate gay ...more
Jared Della Rocca
I’ve taken two or three stabs at writing the opening to this review. I’ve been trying to encapsulate what really struck me in this play. And I think the problem I’ve had is it’s already been said within the play. One of the townspeople is in the midst of a conversation with another. The second is lamenting the view the nation is forming of Laramie based on the news. She remarks, essentially, that they’re not the type of town that would do this sort of thing. And the first responds that, Yes, we ...more
Mr. Brammer
The murder of Matthew Shepherd led many Americans to search their feelings about homosexuality and the gay men and women in our midst. But this play (written in "moments" instead of acts or scenes) shows us how mundane and banal anti-gay violence can be. The two young men who murdered Shepherd were not the monsters we would like them to be - instead they were young, desperate, and stupid.

Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project want to capture the soul of Laramie, Wyoming, and by interviewing v
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Samantha Maloney
This play may be the single most haunting thing I have ever read. A moment did not go by that I was not on the brink of tears. It's a quick read probably because you won't be able to put it down. This is just beautiful, and everyone needs to read it.
Chuck
This is an excellent book and play. It was created from hundreds of interviews taken in Laramie, Wyoming following the brutal nurder of a young gay man who was a student at the University of Wyoming. The authors cleverly wove together material from these interviews into a story of the murder, the community, law enforcemnt, the media, the trial and the individual friends, family and clergy. There were a substantial number of opportunities for the writers to seek sensationalism from rednecks, poli ...more
Brian Kovesci
Enjoyable and informative, but I imagine this play to be a bit too campy for the subject matter. I rather like the use of the narrator as a device to constantly remind the audience who is who.

I couldn't help but be reminded of Peter Weiss's THE INVESTIGATION. Both plays use real dialogue to explain to the audience exactly what happened at a certain time and place; with THE INVESTIGATION Weiss used transcripts from the Nuremberg Trials to convey the transparent antisemitism and lies Nazis blamed
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Lindsey
The Laramie Project is a book revolving around the community of the town Laramie, Wyoming, about the death of Matthew Shepard.

I enjoyed this book due to the emotion within it. The book takes a neutral tone on the subject of gay rights, and focuses mostly on the communities reaction. This was refreshing because I didn't want to read something preachy, I wanted to decide for myself what was right and wrong. And that's what I got.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like reading a news article instead it'
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Mary
The Laramie Project is a heart felt play about a young gay man that goes through an unexpected change. The Members of Tectonic Theater Project put together interviews from Laramie, Wyoming to make a play out of a true story. It is a play focusing on Matthew Shepard. A young man going to the local university. One night at the bar he is spotted by two boys named Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney. They walk out of the bar together and the next day Matthew is found tied to the fence. He is bound ...more
Adam Jedlicka
In the year 2009, I had the ability to attend the Iowa Thespian Festival where around 300 high school students watched as around 12 of their peers perform The Laramie Project. Sitting in the audience, I was moved by the real story of the young Matthew Sheppard who was robbed, beaten, and left to die by two kids of his own age. Fast forward a year in a half, and sitting in class I noticed my theatre director had The Laramie Project sitting on her shelf. I quickly grabbed the book and started to r ...more
WaiThain
The Laramie Project was one of my favorite plays because it is not too biased. It includes interviews from people who have different views, and I especially enjoyed interviews that were made by the accused and their family members. I was surprised that Russell Henderson pleaded guilty because if he has done it earlier, he would have received a less severe sentence as an accessory. Unlike Fires in the Mirror, in this play, the friends and family members of the accused stayed neutral. They told th ...more
Benewaa
This book is very interesting because it shows the hatred many of us have for each other. Mathew, a gay boy who lived in Wyoming was brutally beaten by Russell Henderson and Aron McKinney. The two boys first met Mathew at a bar and as the bartender describes it, they approached him first. Later on in the night, Mathew left the bar with the two strangers and that was the point the boys took Mathew to a remote area and they humiliated him.
The main theme of this book is homophobia and its influe
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Rinchen
I thought that overall this was a very informative book and had a good overall grasp of what happened to Mathew Shepard and the impact that it had on the Laramie populations. I guess since this was a book on something that has already happened and is well known I can’t really expect anything new. What I really enjoyed about this book was that it captured the feelings of almost the whole Laramie population as pose to just talking about what happened to Mathew Shepard.
A issue or an idea that I d
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Qi Yin
The Laramie Project, by Moises and The Members of the Tectonic Theater Company is a play about the beating of a young gay men, Matthew Shepard to death. The author Moises and the crew members of the Tectonic Theater went to Laramie, Wyoming and conducted over 200 interviews with the people and the people who are involved in the incident.
Though it is the two perpetrators, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson's fault for the beating Matthew Shepard, Matthew Shepard is also responsible for his int
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Jess
This is the first of 3 summer reading books I have to read for my AP Language class. I chose The Laramie Project to be one of these books based on a quickly read summary. I am so glad that I did! Despite it's short length, it carries many messages about society and the different views that people can hold about a significant event. It was so interesting to hear the opinion of three different Churches as well as many locals on the murder of a gay man in their town. The theater company obviously f ...more
Lilly Marie Amenson
Nov 19, 2013 Lilly Marie Amenson rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: theatrical people, especially those focusing on monologues
Wow. Mixed feelings about this one. We're doing this for our spring play, and I'm uncertain about a few things. On the one hand, it's an amazing play. The concept is unique and the characters are real. The downside is it will only cast 16 people (twice the original casting number of 8). I'm just afraid the audience will bore of it. While the topic is quite controversial, the script is all tell, not show. The Crucible, which we did last year, was very intense to watch, and I feel like this lacks ...more
Noah Blum
The Laramie Project, by Moises Kaufman, really inspired me and opened my eyes for me to see what people in the world go through everyday and the troubles that I can avoid. This book was also a well known play. It takes place in Laramie, Wyoming, with Matthew Shepard being an openly guy 21 year old boy as we see what he goes through in his everyday life and how his life unfortunately ends with an incident that shocks the world. One day Matthew Shepard was savagely beaten in a field and was tied t ...more
Trisha
We were required to read five plays this semester and The Laramie Project was, by far, my favorite. It was the most evocative, thought provoking, and poignant piece of literature I've read and not just for this class.

It reads like a docudrama. The members of the Tectonic Theater Group conducted something like 200+ interviews with the people of Laramie and those that were involved in the case. The theater group then transcribed the interviews and composed them into dialogue for the play. They als
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“And it's even in some of the western literature, you know, live and let live. That is such crap. I tell my friends that--even my gay friends bring it up sometimes. I'm like, "That is crap, you know?" I mean, basically what it boils down to: If I don't tell you I'm a fag, you won't beat the crap out of me. I mean, what's so great about that? That's a great philosophy?” 7 likes
“I give you life in the memory of one who no longer lives. May you have a long life, and may you thank Matthew every day for it.” 4 likes
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