The Laramie Project Then and Now

Laramie project

Laramie project then and now.

         The Laramie project highlights the unacceptable nature of the treatment of gays in our society. 15 years after the incident that incited the writing of the Laramie project. The theater and the gay community still face some of the same walls and difficulties that brought about the Laramie project. Although there has been much growth in the acceptance of gays in the US, hate can still be seen.

September 27, 2013 University of Mississippi theater department had a sold out show for “The Laramie Project”. The popularity of controversy in theater is always apparent in the audience it attracts and the sold out house shows just how controversial the situation is. Having a filled house does not necessarily mean that there is overwhelming support for the show. A controversial show should attract both those who agree and those who do not. The response from the audience can then measure like a psychological study on the opinions of a portion of the population.

Despite the years that have passed since this show was first written there are still those who fight the normalization of homosexuals in society. “The Laramie Project” at University of Mississippi was not free of the bigotry and hate that still exists. A number of audience members heckled the play with anti-gay slurs. It is no surprise that an anti-gay play is interrupted by those who are missing the message entirely. The response to the anti-gay outbursts seems to be overwhelmingly against it. Some consider the heckling to be a immature response by those in the audience, perhaps even considered a bad attempt at humor. Such a response shows that it is still difficult for some to accept the presence of gays in society and still use them as a bad punchline.

The last couple of years have had rapid change the acceptance of gays in the US, with many states allowing gay marriage and the military allowing openly gay members. Such changes have not only brought acceptance but more light and focus from both those for and against such acceptance. “About Face Theater” which is an all gay theater company fighting to survive in the competitive theater market in which homosexuality has now become a mainstream idea but that does not make it easier for such companies to thrive.

The advancement has been slow but the progress made can not be understated. Perhaps in another 15 years the world will be ready to accept that violence is not the appropriate response to diversity.

Jonathan Spies


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