This is an interesting play to do a character breakdown/analysis on. There are so many people involved on this project that it is nearly impossible to describe each one especially since this play is based on interviews with the people in Laramie, Wyoming. Still there are some that were more involved in the project than others.
The play is told from multiple perspectives and from two almost three major sides. There is the theatre group that decided to put the production together, the group of people who are being interviewed about Matt those who knew him and those who knew the young men being accused of his murder, and then there are the journal entries from the interviewers from the Kaufman theatre group. The impact hearing this story from real people has on them.
The characters are and in the groups; Members of Tectonic Theatre Project:
Amanda Gronich, Moisés Kaufman, Barbara Pitts, Andy Paris, Stephen Belber, Leigh Fondalkowski, Greg Pierotti; Wyoming Ranchers: Eileen Engen, Jonas Slonaker, gay; Gil Engen, Murdock Cooper, rancher, resident of Centennial, a nearby town, University of Wyoming Community: Rebecca Hilliker, head of theater department; Philip DuBois, president of the university; Zackie Salmon, administrator; Jedadiah Schultz, student; Jon Peacock, Matthew Shepard’s academic advisor; Catherine Connolly, out lesbian professor; Zubaida Ula, Muslim; Aaron Kriefels, student; Sherry Johnson, administrative assistant; Townspeople: Doc O’Connor, limousine driver and local entrepreneur; Waitress, Alison Mears, volunteer for a social service agency; Marge Murray, Reggie Fluty’s mother; Sherry Aanenson, Russell Henderson’s landlord; Jeffrey Lockwood, Conrad Miller, car mechanic; Harry Woods, gay; Friends and Family of Matthew Shepard: Trish Steger, Romaine Patterson’s sister; owner of a shop in town; Romaine Patterson, lesbian; Funeral Mourners, Dennis Shepard, father of Matthew Shepard; Religious Community: Baptist Minister, Stephen Mead Johnson, Unitarian minister, Doug Laws, Stake Ecclesiastical leader for the Mormon Church; Father Roger Schmit, Catholic priest; Baptist Minister’s wife, Priest at the funeral, Reverend Fred Phelps, minister from Kansas; At the Fireside Bar: Matt Mickelson, owner of the Fireside, Matt Galloway, bartender at the Fireside; Shadow, DJ at the Fireside; Friends and Family of Perpetrators: Kristin Price, girlfriend of Aaron McKinney; Anonymous, a friend of Aaron McKinney; Bill McKinney, father of Aaron McKinney; truck driver, E-mail writer, Shannon, a friend of Aaron McKinne, Jen, a friend of Aaron McKinney; Lucy Thompson, grandmother of Russell Henderson; Mormon home teacher to Russell Henderson, Russell Henderson, Aaron McKinney, Medical Personnel: Dr. Cantway, emergency room doctor at Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie; Rulon Stacey, CEO Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, CO; a Mormon, Police/Court/State Officials: Sergeant Hing, detective at the Laramie Police Department, Reggie Fluty, the policewoman who responded to the 911 call and discovered Matthew Shepard, Arraignment and Henderson Judge, Governor Jim Geringer, Republican governor of Wyoming, Rob Debree, detective sergeant for the Albany County Sheriff’s Department; chief investigator of Matthew Shepard’s murder, Bailiff, Jurors, McKinney Judge, Cal Rerucha, prosecuting attorney; Foreperson, Media: Reporter, Media/Newspaper people, Hannah Pruitt, Tiffany Edwards, local reporter; Kerry Drake, reporter with the Casper Star-Tribune.
This show is normally done with 15 actors playing the 86 potential characters.
The characters are a means of not only communicating the story of what happened to this young man but also the affect it had on the community before, during and after the murder trial. The characters are also a means of sharing the distress and emotional impact this event has had on those investigating.