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The Laramie Project Paperback – September 11, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books ed edition (September 11, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375727191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375727191
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Moises Kaufman and his Tectonic Theater Project have written a play documenting the aftermath of the savage killing of Matthew Shepard, including the perspectives of both friends and strangers: The Laramie Project. This innovative theatrical composition, structured not in scenes, but in "moments," addresses the various issues relating to the tragedy of Shepard, a young gay man whose murder has since become a symbol for America's struggle against intolerance. Kaufman's approach is actor-based, as opposed to text-based; a side-effect of this actor-based approach is that in print form it seems as though something is missing. However, the play promises to move the reader with its authentic portrayal of a small town facing a terrifying event.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-This remarkable play takes the form of a series of juxtaposed monologues, culled from hundreds of interviews that the authors conducted with residents of Laramie, WY, after the fatal beating of Matthew Shepard in 1998. Additional speeches are taken from journals the authors kept while they were involved in this project. From these fragments, a powerful whole is created, giving readers and audiences a full and shimmering picture of a quiet town suddenly thrust into the media spotlight and hastily branded as "backward." Shepard's friends are heard from, as are the friends of his convicted killers. Masterfully woven together to breathtaking effect are statements from Laramie's religious leaders-some of whom condemn the murder, others of whom condemn the victim. A thoughtful and moving theatrical tour de force.

Emily Lloyd, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Customer Reviews

I bought the book used, but it looked like the book was BRAND NEW!
amoua11
An interesting aspect of the play is the presence of Tony Kushner's play "Angels in America" as a sort of "background" text.
Michael J. Mazza
A play that tells the story of how one little guy in one little town helped changed the minds of many!
Valerie E. Riley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Wolman on October 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am the 61-year-old father of a 24-year-old son who appeared in The Laramie Project two years ago, when he was a college senior. I sat in the front row of the theater in the round in which the play was produced. The play did not "get to me"--it dragged me into the worst What If a parent can have: what if my son were gay (he's not), what if he were murdered--how would I react, what would I feel?

The question was answered via the actor who played Dennis Sheperd. When he delivered his monologue to the Aaron McKinney character, and referred to Matt Sheperd as his firstborn son and his hero, I absolutely lost it. Hatred, a desire for vengeance, but a recognition that this was the start of a time to heal. A message like this can go out of style...never. For any parent, The Laramie Project is terribly difficult to witness. But witness it you must.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on March 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
The 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was a watershed event. This tragedy stimulated debates on anti-gay prejudice and violence. "The Laramie Project," by Moises Kaufman and the members of the Tectonic Theater Project, attempts to find meaning in the murder and its aftermath.
Kaufman and the other members of the theater group travelled to Laramie, Wyoming, which was the focal point of the Matthew Shepard tragedy, in order to interview the people of the town. As the play's opening states, the dialogue of the play is drawn from these interviews as well as from other sources. Thus the play's language has a raw authenticity. Many different voices are heard: a policewoman, Matthew's father, a Catholic priest, a lesbian college professor, Matthew's killers, a Unitarian minister, a viciously anti-gay protestor, etc.
An interesting aspect of the play is the presence of Tony Kushner's play "Angels in America" as a sort of "background" text. "Angels" is mentioned more than once in this play, and indeed, there are significant parallels between the two texts. I recommend that people read both of these remarkable works.
Many issues are addressed in "Project." One character notes that "we need to own this crime." This play is a not only a morally challenging attempt to deal with a high profile tragedy, but also a compelling work of art.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
This play defies words. You probably already know this, but this play is structured as a "docudrama," somewhere between a documentary and a plot/character driven play. Laramie weaves together threads of national strife, the eternal fight against hatred and a plethora of deep, powerful characters. One of my favorite moments in this play comes when a middle aged gay man sits in his apartment and describes the rapidly growing group of people marching in a parade honoring Matthew in his last days, how eventually more people are marching for Matthew than for the parade itself. This play is a triumph of the human spirit that has arisen from a truly dark moment in recent American history. The recent HBO movie is a well-done rendition, although, having seen three different productions and been involved in one, I must say that the play is a bit more moving. Read it, and for the sake of the late Matthew Shepard, if you get the chance, SEE IT.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By klavierspiel VINE VOICE on October 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
Moises Kaufman, who created the magnificent stage drama _Gross Indecency_, based on the trial of Oscar Wilde, here takes another true-life incident, the murder of Matthew Shephard, the young gay man who was beaten and left to die in Laramie, Wyoming, and applies the same documentary techniques, culling the monologues and characters from interviews with actual residents of the town and people variously involved with the tragedy and its aftermath.
I saw the play in its Off-Broadway incarnation and was overwhelmed by the drama, brought out by a magnificent cast (members of which helped write the text), many playing multiple characters. The skill and passion of the actors, I think, was responsible for much of the power of the evening, combined with a simple but effective production. Inevitably, reading the text alone will not bring out the full impact of this work. Still, it is a powerful testament and one that should be disseminated in whatever form. If it's produced anywhere in your neighborhood, I would say, run, don't walk to see it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Council on October 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
'The Laramie Project' is more than a play, it is a beautiful and astonishing work of art! If you are given the chance to see this play, THEN SEE IT! The HBOFilms version is good, but the story loses some of its grace and charm in the whirlwind of big name actors. I have been privelidged enough to perform in a production of 'The Laramie Project', and as a gay man, it gave me a lot to think about and a whole lot more to feel thankful for. If you are an actor, many of the monologues in this play are perfect for any audition. If this play could bring my stepfather to tears, who knows what it could do for you?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
This drama goes past the newscasts and explains more in depth how the Laramie community was affected by this tragedy. Rather than portraying a bunch of "hicks" who were perceived as not caring by the media when the murder occurred, this book explains how most of the citizens of Laramie were affected. This is great in that it goes beyond the murder and looks into the aftermath and how the town was changed by the life and death of one special young man.
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