Members of the cast of ‘The Laramie Project,’ from left, Danny Gay, Hannah Hanson, Don Libby, Paul Menezes, Jackie McDonald and Ray Fletcher. Courtesy of Monmouth Community Players

The Monmouth Community Players return to in-person performances with a production of “The Laramie Project” from Friday to Sunday, outdoors at Anniversary Park in Auburn.

The play tells the real-life story of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, who in October 1998 was kidnapped, beaten, tied to a fence and left for dead outside of Laramie, Wyoming. Shepard, who was gay, was the victim of a hate crime.

Danny Gay, artistic director of the Monmouth Community Players, said the company chose this play because it lent itself to an outdoor production and because the divisive, hate-filled times we live in demand a play that presents the result of hate in graphic terms. Because of the content, the play is recommended for people in high school or older. Playwright Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project conducted more than 200 interviews with residents of Laramie about Shepard’s death. The play is based on those interviews, and involves dozens of characters and their reactions to the crime.

“It’s important that we make sure we combat prejudice and hate wherever we can, especially considering the political climate surrounding Black Lives Matter and the hate surrounding Asian-Pacific Islanders right now,” said Gay, who acts in the play. “We are hoping the audience will find a sense of acceptance and community through listening to the stories of these people. The words are the words of the townspeople who lived in Laramie right after the event, and they hit home. They speak deeply about the need to not have prejudice and to not hate people for their sexual orientation and to accept people for who they are.”

Joanne McDonald directs, with assistance from Cami Gibson. In addition to Gay, who lives in North Monmouth, the cast includes Ray Fletcher of Monmouth, Don Libby of Auburn, Paul Menezes of Windham, Jackie McDonald of Mechanic Falls, Emily Kalafarski of Hallowell, Hannah Hanson of Fairfield, Brittany Bazinet of Greene and Josie French of Lewiston.

Performances will be at 6 p.m. Friday, 1 and 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Rain dates are July 23-25. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $13 for seniors. A boxed lunch costs an additional $12. Bring a lawn chair or blanket, or rent a chair for $1. To purchase tickets, reserve chairs or find more for information, visit

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