By Brittany Urick ’10
On Oct. 12, a cast featuring Princeton students staged a reading of “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later,” a play that assesses the impact of Matthew Shepard’s murder on the Wyoming community that the crime made famous.
Eleven years ago, Shepard was beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die by two fellow University of Wyoming students who targeted him because he was gay. The performance provided a lens through which to examine a current issue: the debate in Congress over legislation that would broaden the definition of violent federal hate crimes to include those committed because of a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
The play is a compilation of interviews conducted by members of the Tectonic Theater Project when they revisited Laramie a decade after Shepard’s murder. The work raises questions about memory and what it means to move on from tragedy.