66 pages 2 hours read

Moises Kaufman

The Laramie Project

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 2001

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Act I, Moments 1-5

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Act I, Moments 1-5 Summary

The first “moment” or section of the play is titled “A Definition” and begins with the narrator explaining that, over the course of a year, the theatre company travelled to Laramie several times and conducted over two hundred interviews. These interviews, along with journal entries from members of the company and other found texts” (21), such as newspaper reports, provide the text of the play. This opening section also attempts to “define” or give a sense of Laramie as a place from the perspective of people who love it, including Detective Sergeant Hing and Eileen Engen. Laramie is a railway town, a place populated by ranchers as well as university students. The president of the university reveals that he has lived in a few big cities but loves Laramie; while he wouldn’t let his children play outside after dark, it stays bright until 11pm in the summer. We are also introduced to Rebecca Hilliker, head of the theatre department at the University of Wyoming, who is a key ally of the theatre company. The “moment” closes with an observation by Jedadiah Schultz, that “after Matthew” (24), Laramie was defined by the crime, that it became a “sign” (24) of everything that Matthew’s death symbolized, rather than a community.