It's 15 years later now. Like the rest of the U.S., Laramie has altered. Whether it's progressed, spiritually, to the point of understanding that all its citizens have an equal right to play a part in its life, is a different question, which the cycle raises but doesn't claim to answer. A small victory—a proposed "defense of marriage" amendment quashed in the state legislature—is balanced by a small defeat: The University of Wyoming stalls on the implementation of same-sex domestic-partner benefits.

Repeatedly, Laramie residents tell the troupe that their home is a "live and let live" place. Most Americans would say that of their home town or region. America's extraordinary ability to hope, like the extraordinary beauty of its Western scenic vistas, seems summed up in Laramie. So, tragically, does its distinctive gift for denial, for blotting out of awareness and of memory the notion that dark undercurrents run here. When the crime occurred, many wanted to believe that "we don't grow children like that here." A decade later, many cling to the false contention that it was all about drugs. Americans have trouble facing facts.

Laramie Project: Amanda Gronick (on table), Andy Paris (foreground)
Julieta Cervantes
Laramie Project: Amanda Gronick (on table), Andy Paris (foreground)

Details

All in the Timing
By David Ives
Primary Stages
59 East 59th Street
212-279-4200, PrimaryStages.org

Part 1: The Laramie Project
By Moises Kaufman and members of Tectonic Theater Project

Part 2:The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later
By Moises Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris, and Stephen Belber
BAM Harvey Theater
651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn
718-636-4100, bam.org

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And they have trouble retaining history, on our shifting landscape. The bar where the murderers offered Matthew Shepard a ride home has changed its ownership, name, and style. The remote fence they tied him to, before bashing him on the head 19 times, has been dismantled. A vast number of Americans now know the story of Matthew Shepard mainly from high-school productions of The Laramie Project—much larger than the number who remember his story in Laramie itself.

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