By Alyssa DeKeyser, Indiana Schilz, & Mackenzie Ullmer
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has put on many plays throughout the last few years. From the earlier Faithful and Only for Now to the most recent one of Twilight, Los Angeles, 1992. This year, the theatre program performed The Laramie Project. The Laramie Project follows the story of a murder in 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming. The play shows off the problematic journey through hatred and senseless violence to forgive and hope in the Laramie community. UWGB live-streamed the play from April 29 to May 2, and tickets to the event were free.
The Laramie Project was mainly designed to spread awareness about the lack of hate crime laws in several states, as stated by Playwright Moisés Kaufman. The murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard in 1998 was labeled a hate crime. Shepard’s murders beat, tortured, and left Matthew to die near Laramie, Wyoming. While Matthew Shepard was rescued and rushed to a local hospital, he died six days after severe head trauma. While The Laramie Project is intended to combat prejudice, there was a major backlash in some cases. Many anti-gay protestors would block off entrances into the plays and carry around picket signs with different anti-gay sayings. Thankfully nowadays, the United States does not see this nearly as much, although it still does happen.
Senior Jamie Wahl had watched the play for the first time over the weekend, and she also felt many different emotions. “I enjoyed the play. Hats off to the theatre program on a great performance. As for the story, it was sad, but this is also a story that needed to be told,” says Wahl. “Some of my favorite parts of the play came from the final act with the whole court case. Those sorts of things interest me, so seeing this acted out in the play was particularly fascinating.”