by Patrick Lovett `17
“…I give you life in the memory of one who no longer lives. May you have a long life and may you thank Matthew every day for it.” These words, given from a mourning father to his son’s killer, represent just one of the powerfully chilling moments from Providence College’s production of The Laramie Project this past weekend.
Based entirely on real events, the play depicts the city of Laramie, Wyoming following the horrific murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998. It consists of over 200 seamless interviews, all conducted by members of the Tectonic Theater Project.
Through the interviews, the audience is exposed to a broad and polarizing spectrum of reactions in the Laramie community. The interviews weave together in such a way to make both Laramie and the pain of Shepard’s murder feel familiar.
Throughout the play, the details of the tragedy slowly unravel: Shepard’s homosexuality, the murderers’ discrimination, and the gruesome beating Shepard was subjected to. By the end, the audience is meant to be left astounded, yet invigorated—speechless, but willing to act.
Unique to PC’s production, the Angell Blackfriars Theatre provides a perfectly intimate environment for captivating the audience. In that setting it is easier to appreciate the range and talent of the cast, especially as they use 11 members to fill 80 roles.
In essence, the College’s production of The Laramie Project is both a spectacle and experience. It effectively captivates and involves the audience, so as to make them participants in Shepard’s legacy.
For those who missed this weekend’s shows, there are still more opportunities to see it. The Department of Theatre, Dance, & Film will be performing it again on the weekend of Feb. 10-12.