This past week (Feb. 24–Feb. 28), the BU Players, a theatre ensemble composed entirely of Bloomsburg theatre arts majors, put on a production of Moises Kaufman’s “The Laramie Project” at the Alvina Krauss Theatre in downtown Bloomsburg.
The play, based on true interviews in the town of Laramie, Wyoming in 1998 surrounding the death of Matthew Shepard, was brilliant to say the least. Examining themes including the persecution of homosexuals, the ethics of the death penalty, and the hypocrisy of the religious right, the BU Players’ production provided an amusing, dramatic take on an otherwise tragic subject matter.
The Laramie Project looks at the final moments of Matthew Shepard, an openly gay, 21 year-old-college student from Laramie who was brutally murdered as the result of a hate crime. Set on an unchanging, non-realistic stage, depicting a mountain background, cast members took on multiple small roles, each providing a brief narrative on what they knew of the victim and the murderers. While there were many small, forgettable roles, each unique perspective painted a picture as to what the Laramie mentality was. The characters themselves were largely unimportant, and were just a framing device, each individual’s minute performance was excellent, and there was not a weak link among the cast.
The Laramie Project may very well have been the best theatrical performance I have seen since coming to campus. I feel that the entire audience was moved by the story of Matthew Shepard, and the message that the author gave.