“The Laramie Project” sends a message to WJ


Sierra Zielske, Sattf Writer

“The Laramie Project” is based off the true story of how Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo., who was murdered in the late 1990s. The story of Shepard’s death was made into a play by playwright, director and founder of the Tectonic Theater Project, Moises Kaufman, who wrote “The Laramie Project” with a few members of the Tectonic Theater Project.

The Tectonic Theater Project is an award-winning company, one of the awards being from ‘The Laramie Project” play. Kaufman went to Laramie, Wyo. after this tragedy happened, stayed for a year or so and interviewed over 200 people, helping him discover the name of the play.

On November 4-6 & 11-12, WJ S*T*A*G*E presented their version of “The Laramie Project.”

The story is about Shepard, who was kidnapped by two men, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. When he was found 18 hours later, he was tied to a buck fence, beaten, bloodied and left unconscious. He died five days later in Poudre Valley Health Center on October 12, 1998.

Even with multiple actors, the two weekends were almost identical in talent and energy. The cast and crew worked hard every chance they got.

“The actors had to play many different roles which was hard for them, but I think they really pulled it off,” senior props member Maria Mills said.

Even though the cast themselves had to memorize great amounts of lines and learn costume changes and stage directions, the crew also had a lot to do and learn as well. For example, they helped the cast backstage and learned when to bring props on and off stage.

“This crew was freshman heavy, there were only two seniors on crew,” senior props member Claudia Guerrero said.

With all the incoming freshmen this year, crew has received an influx of new team members to help out during the shows, and students have learned many of the challenges and tasks that have come with their new jobs.

“As a props member, it was very difficult to make the [anti-gay] hate signs,” Maria Mills said.

The challenge is bigger for seniors, since they get the more challenging building projects for the upcoming plays.

I thought that the play was exciting and interesting since it was my first time watching it. The mob of people chanting with signs and the few people who had angel wings really caught my eye. These were outstanding parts of the play, and I would love to see it again.