11/22/2016 16:00 EST | Updated 11/23/2017 00:12 EST

A small town deals with a horrible crime in ACT's The Laramie Project

In October 1998 a young man in Laramie, Wyo. was brutally murdered because he was gay. Now ACT is bringing the aftermath of that story to a Charlottetown stage this weekend.

Matthew Shepherd was 21 years old when two men he had just met drove him out of town, tied him to a fence, robbed him, beat him, and left him for dead.

The Laramie Project is a play by the Iconic Theatre Project of New York that explores the impact of this brutal crime on the people of the town. The dialogue of the play is based on interviews conducted by the theatre company in Laramie not long after Shepherd's death.

The people of Laramie had to confront the ways in which even a small town like theirs, could be a breeding ground of hatred and violence.

A familiar cast of characters

Laramie is about the size of Charlottetown, and after working with the play cast member Emily Anne Fullerton said the similarities do not stop there.

"This is essentially, a lot like Charlottetown. There were many times when I was reading the script that I thought, 'Wow, I feel like I've met these people.'" Fullerton said.

Because the play is told through interviews with many of the town's people, the show has a different kind of structure, with the nine cast members playing 64 different characters.

The Laramie Project runs from Nov. 23-27 at the Guild in Charlottetown.

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