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Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

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The Laramie Project

A chorus of voices brings to life the thoughts and feelings of the people of Laramie, Wyoming, in the wake of the murder of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man


Adult/High School-This remarkable play takes the form of a series of juxtaposed monologues, culled from hundreds of interviews that the authors conducted with residents of Laramie, WY, after the fatal beating of Matthew Shepard in 1998. Additional speeches are taken from journals the authors kept while they were involved in this project. From these fragments, a powerful whole is created, giving readers and audiences a full and shimmering picture of a quiet town suddenly thrust into the media spotlight and hastily branded as “backward.” Shepard’s friends are heard from, as are the friends of his convicted killers. Masterfully woven together to breathtaking effect are statements from Laramie’s religious leaders-some of whom condemn the murder, others of whom condemn the victim. A thoughtful and moving theatrical tour de force.-Emily Lloyd, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Moises Kaufman and his Tectonic Theater Project have written a play documenting the aftermath of the savage killing of Matthew Shepard, including the perspectives of both friends and strangers: The Laramie Project. This innovative theatrical composition, structured not in scenes, but in “moments,” addresses the various issues relating to the tragedy of Shepard, a young gay man whose murder has since become a symbol for America’s struggle against intolerance. Kaufman’s approach is actor-based, as opposed to text-based; a side-effect of this actor-based approach is that in print form it seems as though something is missing. However, the play promises to move the reader with its authentic portrayal of a small town facing a terrifying event. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

The savage murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard in October 1998 left deep wounds in the psyche of Laramie, WY, and in that of our entire nation. Soon after Matthew’s death, Kaufman and members of his Tectonic Theater Project (also responsible for the highly acclaimed Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde) made a series of visits to Laramie over an 18-month period, conducting hundreds of face-to-face interviews with the town’s citizens in order to create this piece. The words and voices of these people, including the college student who first discovered Matthew’s broken body, Matthew’s friends, teachers, the two young men responsible for his death, and Matthew’s father, make this a deeply moving and brutally realistic dramatic experience. This true story of hate, fear, hope, and courage touched and changed many lives and will do so for everyone who reads or watches a performance of this theatrical masterpiece. Highly recommended for all collections. Howard Miller, St. Louis Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.


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