Vietnam novel comes to life on stage

The American Place Theatre from New York City returns to the Webb Center on November 16 at 7:30 pm with a one man adaptation of the novel “The Things They Carried.” Written by Vietnam veteran Tim O’Brien, the novel is a collection of short stories about a platoon of American soldiers in the Vietnam War. The performance is one of many events held as part of Wickenburg recognition of the 50th Commemoration of the Vietnam War.

American Place Theatre (APT) actor Billy Lyons will bring to life the author’s unforgettable experiences surrounding the Vietnam War through five of the short stories from the book including “The Rainy River” and “The Man I Killed.”

This riveting stage adaptation of the novel gives witness to the complex issues of war and the universal struggle of a soldier. Interactive pre- and post-performance discussions encourage audiences to examine their own beliefs, choices and the ultimate cost of war.

In addition to a public performance, the Webb Center will present a special school performance of “The Things They Carried” for Wickenburg High School seniors. Before and after the performance, a teaching artist will work in the classroom with all senior English classes about the major themes of the book. The interactions are provided free of charge by Webb Center, with grant support from WESTAF, the NEA & Target, and are designed to give students a new kind of access to literature through performance based art.

Typically high school students do not study the Vietnam Era, however Wickenburg High School purchased 100 copies of “The Things They Carried” and all seniors have been studying the novel for the past month. In addition, educators have worked with a curriculum based study guide provided by The American Place Theatre.

The Webb Center wishes to acknowledge our collaborative partners at the Wickenburg High School: English teachers Sue Baker and Gary Hodgekiss, and WHS Principal Jackie Jacobson for their work on bringing this program to fruition.

The American Place Theatre, a 49 year old off-Broadway theatre company, produces a series of works for student and adult engagement known as “Literature to Life” where actors perform staged adaptations of significant American literary works to encourage reading and writing.

Tickets to the public performance of “The Things They Carried” on November 16 are available at the Webb Center Box Office: Adults $30, Children under 18 $5.   Tickets will be provided to veterans free of charge through VetTix.org.

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