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Veterans to share stories in ‘Telling Project’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Six Albuquerque veterans will begin telling their stories of horror and humanity this coming weekend.

“The Telling Project: Albuquerque 2018” opens Friday, Nov. 2, at the VSA North Fourth Theatre. Performances will continue on Saturday and again on Nov. 10 and 11.

Last July, “Telling Project” founder Jonathan Wei came to Albuquerque to interview veterans and piece together a script, Duke City Repertory artistic director Amelia Ampuero said. The project has staged more than 60 productions nationwide since its 2009 founding. Local veterans have participated in the project at New York’s Lincoln Center, the Library of Congress and Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater.

“Of course, each one is different, because it’s based on the stories of veterans in different communities,” Ampuero said.

First, the veterans will talk about what they were doing before they enlisted and why they wanted to serve their country. Next they discuss their experience in war. They end by talking about their adjustment to civilian life.

These New Mexicans are veterans of the war in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, Ampuero said. The speakers include two women.

“It’s an extraordinarily powerful experience,” she said. “There is some heavy subject matter in there.”

Some of those memories are contradictory. One veteran remembers swimming in a tropical bay with sea turtles the size of cars while being surrounded by the atrocities of war.

“Things like PTSD are just now beginning to be understood and acknowledged,” Ampuero said. “The project dives into that as well. I’m hoping it will be a very cathartic experience for our veterans and an enlightening experience for our audience.”

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