Plymouth South Theatre Guild’s The Laramie Project sparks conversation weeks after Opening Night

Audience buzzing with praise for the important topics the play helped showcase


Sophia D'Eramo, Editor-In-Chief

Plymouth South Theatre Guild opened their 2022-23 season with what many deem a very controversial fall play choice: The Laramie Project. Written by Moises Kaufman, this show recalls the passing of Matthew Shepard: a young man murdered for his identity as a gay man in the town of Laramie, Wyoming. 


While the topic of identity has evolved over time with the help of social media platforms and is critically important to the LGBTQ+ community, many still are uncomfortable with the subject. At Plymouth South High School, staff and administrators make very clear the District will not tolerate any amount of discrimination. Dedicating time and space to the topic, however, can be very dicey with the public. 


The Department of Justice for the United States reports hate crime statistics involving sexual and gender orientation have risen over the last few years:


  • More than 20% of hate crimes are due to an individual’s gender and/or sexual orientation. 
  • Over 1,000 individuals are guaranteed to be targeted due to their gender and/or sexual orientation. 
  • In Massachusetts, almost 20% of reported hate crimes are due to gender and/or sexual orientation. 

Hate crimes do not solely entail physical altercations. Most day to day instances involve verbal harassment. Unfortunately, many people put up with shame and humiliation for their identity every single day. Most likely, there is someone in your life who has experienced, or continues to experience, this harassment daily. 


So, what kind of example does this present to the world? That it is okay to hate on other people for being different? The Guild felt it was time to use their platform as an opportunity to make a powerful statement. Co-Director of the Theatre Guild and Director of The Laramie Project Jason Luciana highlights the importance, stating, “The Laramie Project held a special and direct relevance for our students, many of whom are dealing with similar issues of identity in their own lives.”


Over the course of three acts, the Guild took the audience to a time capsule of a tragedy. The actors took on various different characters, each with different perspectives while providing the story of Matthew Shepard and the trial that presided over it. 


Each night had a special guest speaker to provide more detail and information before the show, along with numerous local Pride groups selling information and merchandise. 


With all three nights sold out, it was safe to say the show got the message out. The audiences (and the company) were buzzing with high praise for the show.

“I really hope that the people who came to the show went home and talked about it with family, or talked about it with friends,” says Kathleen Evans, co-director of the Guild, “because I’d bet that the community members who really need to see this show weren’t in attendance.”


If you were unable to see the show, do not be discouraged. The show has been filmed for the promise of being available for the general public’s viewing. Be sure to stay tuned for the Guild’s winter one act, 4AM, their winter cabaret and spring musical, Mamma Mia!