Throughout The Laramie Project, characters refer to the natural beauty surrounding the town of Laramie, and express their great love for it. This includes the stars in the Laramie night sky, which, thanks to the lack of light pollution in rural Wyoming, are extremely vibrant. Dennis Shepard brings up the stars in his statement expressing the Shepard family’s lack of support for the death penalty for Aaron McKinney, saying that he was happy that the stars were the last thing that Matthew Shepard saw as he was dying and he hopes they made him feel less alone. Because characters often reference the stars and nature while talking about what makes Laramie a great place to live, and because of the way Dennis references them as a symbol of solace and togetherness, the stars seem to symbolize the aspects of the Laramie community that can be redeemed or looked to for hope in the face of the tragedy of Matthew’s murder.
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Stars appears in The Laramie Project. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 3: Dennis Shepard’s Statement