Students raise awareness in ‘The Laramie Project’


Grace Klein, Staff Writer

Most people going to a play don’t expect to undergo feelings of intense emotion and discomfort, but that’s exactly what this year’s fall play, “The Laramie Project,” aimed to accomplish. 

“The Laramie Project” is a reaction to the murder of a gay college student, Matthew Shepard, in Laramie, Wyoming. The play draws from multiple interviews, transcripts, and various journal entries and news reports. October 2018 marked the 20th anniversary of his death, and director Catherine Hopkins, theatre teacher, hoped it was executed with passion and emotion. 

“It’s going to be really emotional for family and friends,” Hopkins said. “My hope is also that it will show people how little things have changed.”

It’s not very often that high schools see “The Laramie Project” in production because of its crude language and controversial subject. Along with a unique production comes a unique set. This year’s cast brought the audience on stage with them for an up close experience. There were risers on stage and the audience sat just feet from the actors. 

“It’s not a very tech savvy play,”  Phoebe Thoroughman, senior, said. “We don’t have a big set and there are minimal costumes.” 

Thoroughman is playing multiple parts in the production due to the fact that 63 roles are involved, with only 23 cast members. Before the play was performed, she hoped the cast will be able to do it justice. 

“If we don’t do this play right, we won’t be able to get the message across,” Thoroughman said. “It’s a play that shows how intensely people can hate.” 

Due to this pressure of trying to execute the play correctly, the cast has had to step up their game more than normal. The lead roles were only assigned to veteran actors and the less experienced members are playing the small roles. 

“This is a very advanced play, so the cast members really needed to be pushed,” Hopkins said.