The Laramie Project

The Laramie Project

The Laramie Project Act 2: The Essential Facts Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
A reporter states that Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson have been charged with assaulting Matthew Shepard. Catherine Connolly then describes how she walked from work to the arraignment. At the arraignment, there were about a hundred or two hundred townspeople in attendance. They were all silent as Aaron and Russell walked into the room in handcuffs. Catherine says the judge read the facts of the case, and an actor playing the judge begins to actually read them on stage.
The large audience presence at Aaron and Russell’s arraignment clearly shows how profoundly the young men’s crime has shaken Laramie’s townspeople, and how interested the people of Laramie are in seeing how Aaron and Russell are put to justice. Catherine’s personal interest in the case seems to stem in part from her own lesbian identity.
Themes
Violence, Punishment, and Justice Theme Icon
The judge states that Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson met Matthew Shepard at the bar and then drove him to the fence, where they tied Matthew up and beat him. Later, the police department found Matthew’s wallet and shoes in Aaron and Russell’s car, and suspected that the men had intended to rob Matthew’s home. As the judge’s voice fades out, Catherine Connolly says that she thinks everyone in the court was crying by the end of the judge’s statement. The judge ended the statement of facts by saying that Matthew begged for his life.
As the judge reads out Aaron and Russell’s crime, the facts of the case, even presented dryly and in a court setting, are so horrific that they move the audience to tears. The fact that the townspeople react so strongly to this cut and dry account of the crime suggests that the media’s frequently-referred-to sensationalization of the crime is not actually necessary to get people to care about what happened.
Themes
Violence, Punishment, and Justice Theme Icon
Media and Community Theme Icon