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TEAM Westport Sponsors “Laramie Project” Community Conversation

A controversial play about the murder of a gay student in Laramie, Wyo., will be the focus for a community discussion by Westport’s diversity commission known as TEAM Westport.

The group is sponsoring the discussion June 18 immediately following that evening’s performance of “The Laramie Project” at the Westport Community Theatre in Town Hall.

Director David Roth and several cast members will join audience members in an exploration of the play’s themes, and its applicability to Westport.

“The Laramie Project” explores the murder of gay student Matthew Shepard in 1998, and that Wyoming cowboy-and-college town’s reaction to it. Ten actors portray 84 roles, including Shepard’s two killers, his father and friends.

“June is Gay Pride month, so it is a particularly appropriate time for Westporters to think about issues of sexuality and community,” said TEAM Westport chairman Harold Bailey.

“‘The Laramie Project’ is an excellent vehicle to prompt this consideration.”

“Every citizen’s feelings and actions help make a town the place that it is,” he said.

“And everyone reacts differently when a horrible event happens in a community’s midst. This play provokes audiences to think about the connection between thoughts and words and deeds.”

“This is such a powerful subject, yet the script is not heavy-handed,” said director Roth.

“The audience is not told what to think, and it is not a ‘morality’ play. It is a snapshot of a town in crisis, much more about the town than about the incident. In some ways, it is an Our Town for the new millennium.”

All audience members are invited to attend the community conversation following the 8 p.m. performance. Tickets are $12 to $16.

For reservations or additional information, call the Westport Community Theater box office at 203-226-1983.

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