The Laramie Project

The Laramie Project


Moisés Kaufman

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The Laramie Project: Act 1: The Fence Summary & Analysis

Stephen Mead Johnson describes how the fence where Matthew Shepard was found in a coma became a sort of pilgrimage site. Stephen imagines Matthew wondering if God had left him behind as he suffered in the cold the night of his attack. Greg Pierotti then describes how Phil Labrie took them one morning to see the spot on the fence where Matthew was left. Greg says he cried when he touched it, feeling such a strong connection to Matthew. Greg thinks no one saw him crying, but company member Leigh Fondakowski says he noticed and felt the same deep sadness. Leigh asks the other members of the company to interview Aaron Kreifels, the boy who found Matthew, since Leigh does not feel up to it.
As Stephen and Greg talk about the fence, they refer to both the incredible violence and suffering that Matthew endured there and the way that the fence makes them feel connected to Matthew. The fence is clearly a complicated place, as it represents both an act of incredible inhumanity and the profound power of human empathy. As Leigh describes his lack of emotional strength after his visit, it is clear that the playwrights, rather than being cool observers, are themselves profoundly affected by Matthew’s story.
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