Discuss the myths you can identify in the play The Laramie Project. How are they  relevant to the play as a whole?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the use of myths is extremely important to Kaufman’s work.  It is mythology that makes Matt Shepard’s murder and the denial surrounding it a reality.  It is mythology that confounds the people of Laramie, the outsiders who come in to visit it, as well as the Tectonic Actors, who must make sense of why these myths exist and their significance to what happened to Matt Shepard.  One such myth is about the issue of being gay.  There are many myths that are associated with homosexuality that are explored in the play.  From the religious condemnation, to the townspeople who do not openly say anything against it, but are not supportive, to those who cleave to Laramie’s supposed goodness in the attempt to not have to face the awful truth about what happened to Matt Shepard, all of these myths play a significant role in the play.  I would say that another myth that is present is one responsibility.  This myth says that Shepard’s murder and gruesome death were isolated incidents and do not signify a larger pattern. This is a myth that is exposed for what it is in the drama, also.

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