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No Place for Hate: UMaine Stages “The Laramie Project”

February 1st, 2011

By Emma Thieme
Broadcast Journalism
Winterport, Maine

After a productive weekend of catching up on schoolwork and having fun with my friends, I wanted to end my time off on a well-rounded note by going to watch “The Laramie Project.”

“The Laramie Project,” written by Moisés Kaufman, chronicles a year in the rural town of Laramie, Wyo., in the wake of one of the most infamous hate crimes in America. The show is nationally performed and was co-sponsored by Wilde Stein and UMaine GLBTQ services.

The play tells the story of Matthew Shepard, an openly gay Laramie resident, who died on Oct. 12, 1998, after being severely beaten, tied to a fence and left to die by two other Laramie residents, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson.  The performance consists of a series of interviews that were conducted by a theater troupe, each one revealing a little piece of who Matthew was as a person and what he meant to Laramie.

Not only were the cast and crew successful with conveying a deep message, but they were also able to pull off a difficult performance. All of the actors had several roles to portray and were often moving from one stage-side to the other, changing accessories in order to let the audience know that they were switching characters. These transitions were seamless and easy to follow. The production crew did an excellent job using audio and visual effects in order to give an authentic portrayal of the town of Laramie. Throughout the performance crying could be heard — the message had clearly evoked an emotional response from the audience.

After watching “The Laramie Project,” I was so thankful that such a production was put on at the University of Maine. It was heartbreaking but eye-opening, and it made me reflect on how lucky I am to be part of a campus that does not tolerate hate.

Posted in College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Emma Thieme