Susquehanna Theatre Department Explores Legacy of Wyoming Murder
Published on November 29, 2011
Susquehanna University’s Department of Theatre will present “The Laramie Project” Dec. 8–11 at 8 p.m., with matinee performances Dec. 10 and 11 at 2:30 p.m., in the Degenstein Center Theater.
The play explores the aftermath of the 1998 killing of Matthew Shepard, the gay college student whom two men kidnapped, robbed and pistol-whipped, then tied to a fence and left to die in frigid temperatures for 18 hours on a Wyoming ranch. Moisés Kaufman and fellow members of the New York-based Tectonic Theater Project made six trips to Laramie shortly after the incident and during the trial of the two men convicted of the murder, conducting more than 200 interviews with the town’s residents. The result is a deeply moving theatrical event, exploring the best and worst of humanity, based on the interviews and their own experiences.
When it premiered in 2000, Time magazine called the production "one of the 10 best plays of the year. A pioneering work of theatrical reportage and a powerful stage event." Ten years after Shepard’s death, Kaufman and his colleagues returned to Laramie to re-interview residents, adding a telling epilogue to their original script.
Directed by W. Douglas Powers, associate professor of theatre at Susquehanna, “The Laramie Project” is one of the most performed plays in the country. It spawned an HBO film version that opened the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for four Emmy Awards.
Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for non-SU students. For tickets, visit the Susquehanna box office or call 570-372-ARTS, Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m.
Karen M. Jones