The Laramie Project

By Moisés Kaufman

Moisés Kaufman’s internationally successful play began one month after a horrific crime occurred in the city of Laramie, Wyoming. Members of Kaufman’s theatrical group, Tectonic Theater Project, volunteered to travel with their director from New York City to the wide-open ranges of the West in order to gather in-person interviews from Laramie’s populace. The idea was to capture the emotions, reflections, and reactions of the people who were most closely related to the crime—the brutal beating and subsequent death of a young college student. Was this a hate crime? Or was it a random, senseless assault and robbery? No matter which, Kaufman’s objective was to explore the issues of homosexuality, religion, class, economics, education, and non-traditional lifestyles through the residents’ raw responses to the incident. How did this crime define the culture, not just of this Western town, but of the entire United States?

In 1998, Matthew Shepard, a twenty-one-year-old gay student registered at the University of Wyoming, was tied to a cattle fence, beaten about the head, robbed, and left to die on a bitterly cold night in October. Eighteen hours later, he was accidentally discovered by a biker, who had trouble believing that the figure he saw attached to the fence was human. Police and ambulances were dispatched, and Shepard was taken to a local hospital; all to no avail. Shepard was beyond recovery. He never regained consciousness and died several days later due to his head injuries. Two local young men were charged with the crime.

The play is based on more than 400 interviews with about 100 Laramie residents, as well as journal entries from the members of Tectonic Theater Project and Kaufman, as they reflect on their own reactions to the crime and to the interviews they carried out. Structured as a documentary, it attempts to reenact the events that occurred on that fateful night.

Produced by Madison Theatre Guild at Bartell Community Theatre 113 E. Mifflin Street Madison, WI

Performances: April 11-26, 2008

Performance Times: Friday, April 11 at 7:30 PM; Saturday, April 12 at 7:30 PM; Sunday, April 13 at 2:00 PM; Thursday, April 17 at 7:30 PM; Friday, April 18 at 7:30 PM; Saturday, April 19 at 2:00 PM & 7:30 PM; Sunday, April 20 at 2:00 PM; Thursday, April 24 at 7:30 PM; Friday, April 25 at 7:30 PM; Saturday, April 26 at 2:00 PM & 7:30 PM.

Ticket Prices: Thursday evenings and all matinees are $12. Friday and Saturday evenings are $15.

Call 608-238-9322 ext. 1 for reservations or more information.

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Auditions will be held on the following days:


Auditions will be held at 2410 Monroe Street (MTG firehouse) at 7:00 PM each night.

No monologue necessary. Please come prepared to read from the script. Head shot and resume are encouraged. Come dressed comfortably. No appointment necessary.

If you have questions you can contact Chrissie Valdez (producer) at