Eastern's Theatre Program and Drama Society presented "The Laramie Project," written by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project, in the Harry Hope Theatre from April 24-27. The play was directed by senior theatre major Kelsey Guggenheim.
The Laramie Project follows the true story of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming who was kidnapped, severely beaten, tied to a fence in the middle of a prairie outside Laramie, WY, in 1998, and left to die just because he was gay.
Kaufman and fellow members of the Tectonic Theater Project made six trips to Laramie over the course of a year-and-a-half in the aftermath of the murder and during the trial of the two young men accused of killing Shepard. They conducted more than 200 interviews with the people of the town. Some people interviewed were directly connected to the case, and others were citizens of Laramie. Kaufman and Tectonic Theater members constructed a deeply moving theatrical experience from these interviews and their own experiences.
Guggenheim was given the opportunity to direct this full-length stage production through Pathways to Leadership. The program for students interested in directing includes a series of directing classes, stage management and assistant directing duties, and opportunities to direct staged readings, children's theatre and one-act plays. Students with special skills have the opportunity to direct a full-length, fully-staged production as part of the Harry Hope Theatre season of shows.