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The Laramie Project Paperback – September 11, 2001
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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.
Top customer reviews
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The gay community and numerous civil rights watchdog groups were outraged by the defense, and as more and more facts came to light it seemed that the crime was somewhat more complicated than Henderson and McKinney wanted the public to know. Witnesses stated that Henderson and McKinney had specifically targeted Shepherd because he was gay. After much legal wrangling, Henderson pled guilty and testified against McKinney, who was convicted; after still more legal wrangling, and at the request of Shepherd's parents, McKinney escaped the death penalty but has no chance of parole.
The case made headlines from end of the United States to the other and prompted numerous calls for Hate Crimes legislation, which had long been stalled both at the state and federal level. And in the midst of the confusion, chaos, and controversy, Moises Kaufman and the members of The Tectonic Theatre Project arrived on the scene, interviewing more than two hundred people about their thoughts and feelings on the case. These were shaped into THE LARAMIE PROJECT, a drama that debuted in 2000 and which has since shocked, impressed, and deeply moved audiences from coast to coast.
Playscripts are not really intended to be read; they are intended to be performed, and there can be a significant difference between how a script and how it plays. This is particularly true of THE LARAMIE PROJECT, which doesn't consist of scenes or acts but of "moments"--bits and pieces of monologue and dialogue and staging that non-play-readers will likely find difficult to envision. When performed, all those bits and pieces become like tiles in a mosaic: they may seem to mean different things individually, but when performed one right after another they become a unified whole.
Perhaps the single most impressive thing about THE LARAMIE PROJECT is its refusal to "take sides." The play presents its characters and their words with commenting in favor of them or against them; you are instead allowed to interpret for yourself. The result is uniquely powerful. Strongly recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
An easy and quick read, it helped me identify the characters later on the DVD, and though in stage format, doesn;t read like a novel. I finsihed it in one afternoon, and if this horrific incident still concerns you, this is a good way to understand how it affected so many in a sparsly populated "city" in a huge mostly unpopulated state.
Hate knows no boundaries, but how it affected Laramie, is well done with an unusual idea. It took great courage to do this project, and shouold be more widely read, if not required reading, for schools.