Leaving Laramie

The past couple months I’ve had the privilege of working on a production of The Laramie Project. I had the job of costumer which involved making “like big ass wings” for a band of angels, and I performed the part of Trish Steger. Trish is a real person – as are all the other characters in the play – who lived in Laramie, Wyoming when Matthew Shepard was murdered.

“Who is Matthew Shepard?”

That’s a question I was asked yesterday, and at first I didn’t know how to respond. I was flabbergasted that someone didn’t know who Matthew was. I thought knowing about Matthew was as common as knowing about Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., or Mother Teresa. I explained in brief that Matthew was a young man killed for his sexual orientation.

However, Matthew was so much more than that! He was a college student studying political science, friend, son, and brother who was passionate about equality. In his brief time on earth he saw more of the world than some of us will ever see as he lived in Saudi Arabia and went to high school in Switzerland. Tragically, he was savagely murdered in Laramie, Wyoming for being gay. At the time of his death he was 21 years old, and now it has been 21 years since his death. I can’t believe that time has passed so quickly that Matthew has now been gone for as long as he was alive. Matthew’s death has had a lasting impact not only through The Laramie Project, but also with The Matthew Shepard Foundation (https://www.matthewshepard.org/) and legislation such as the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

For me personally, The Laramie Project has been important because I believe that it is essential to remember events and notable persons of the past. When we – society as a whole – forget the past, then we cannot learn from it and create a better tomorrow. This is the same reason that I liked being a part of The Crucible back in the spring and enjoy teaching it each year! By remembering history through the arts, we can experience the raw emotion of the past and use said emotion for improving our own minds and the minds of those around us. We can teach love, tolerance, and fairness! We can inspire hope and change! Through the arts we can also continue the legacy of ordinary people who’ve purposefully or unintentionally played a part in extraordinary things!

So as I leave Laramie behind, I can say that being a part of this show – even though I only had 6 sets of lines and dressed folks – has been an impacting, significant experience that I have learned from and will never forget. To all those who were part of the cast and crew, you did a terrific job of breathing life into Laramie! To all those who saw the show, I hope you felt moved to make a difference to someone in your life! To those who didn’t see it, take some time to learn about Matthew Shepard (another great resource is http://eatromaine.com/1/index-laramie.html).

Most of all, never forget…


The Great Kaysby

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The Great Kaysby

I’m a wife, mother, daughter, cat lover, believer in Him and His word, teacher, beauty consultant, actress, costumer, and avid volunteer. 👩🏻‍🦰 My biggest gift in life is how I can still experience the world with childlike wonder as an adult. 🤩 I love winning, prizes, shiny objects, travel, food, and games! I use emojis way too much but they make me happy! 😊

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