Oscar nominee helps veterans re-integrate with ease

7:09 PM, May 14, 2013   |    comments
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David Strathairn as newsman Edward R. Murrow in "Good Night, And Good Luck."(Gannett News Service/Melinda Sue Gordon, Warner Independent/File)

ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- There are more than 140,000 veterans living in Maine. As many return from deployment they are faced with another battle, re-integrating into society. The Brooklyn-based theater group Outside the Wire uses Greek tales of warriors returning from war to help bridge the communication gap between veterans and their families. Some of Hollywood's biggest names have joined the project including Oscar nominated David Strathairn.

The Theatre of War crew visited University of Maine in Orono to offer a performance. More than a hundred attendees participated in the event and the following discussion. The settings are always intimate with no cameras or media allowed to put the audience at ease and encourage discussion.

David Strathairn said, "When you're doing a normal play the audience normally doesn't talk about your feelings...To have a discussion that is as open and as frank as this one was tonight, and it's always like this in whatever room we do it in, it happens. It's proof that it's a really powerful way to bring people together over a particular issue that will help their lives."

Strathairn said each of the discussions are equally if not more emotion than the one before.

"Each and every time you see a lot of pain. You see a lot of hope. You see a lot of need. You see a lot of places where the ball has been dropped. More and more we see how the culture of support has started to grow and so it's quite moving and it can make you feel...just make you feel," said Strathairn.

According to the long-time actor, this discussion and ability to open the floor to communication has been the purpose of plays all along.

Outside the Wire uses theatre performances to tackle other social issues such as alcohol in the military, combat-related psychological injuries, and substance abuse. Upcoming performances and more information can be found on the organization's website.  

The Lunder-Dineen Health Education Alliance of Maine joined forces with the theater group and offers resources for re-integrating veterans and their families.


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