ECC stages play of Tim O’Brien’s war novel
By Chris Peterson For Sun-Times Media September 26, 2013 11:40AM
"The Things They Carried" will be performed at ECC on Sept. 28. | File photo
“The Things They Carried”
♦ 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28
♦ SecondSpace Theatre, 1700 Spartan Dr., Elgin
♦ Tickets, $25
♦ (847) 622-0300
The written word is a powerful tool for sharing ideas, but there are times when hearing those words spoken out loud can have a much greater impact. That’s the purpose of The American Place Theatre’s Literature to Life series, which will present a stage presentation of Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” at the ECC Arts Center’s SecondSpace Theatre on 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28.
The novel, inspired by O’Brien’s experiences serving in the Vietnam War, is considered a classic by many for its frank and moving assessment of war and how it impacts the soldiers who fight it. The stage presentation was developed in collaboration with O’Brien and has been a part of the Literature to Life series since 2004.
Literature to Life presents important works of literature as interactive theater productions involving readings and multimedia aspects. The Literature to Life adaptation of “The Things They Carried” features five of the book’s short stories, including “The Rainy River” and “The Man I Killed.” The pieces are underscored by original cello arrangements, and an interactive discussion precedes and follows the performance.
“This educational program gives students a new form of access to literature by bringing to life the world of books with performances that create an atmosphere of discovery and spark the imagination,” The American Place Theatre said. “Literature to Life has already provided a catalyst for learning and self-expression for over 400,000 students nationwide.”
The production is directed by Wynn Handman, co-founder of The American Place Theatre and an acting teacher who has trained actors including Alec Baldwin, Raul Julia, Christopher Walken and Susan Lucci. Performing the adaptation is Billy Lyons, veteran of productions including “Die Fledermaus” and “The Laramie Project.”
This presentation of “The Things They Carried” is part of The Big Read, a community-wide project organized by a team that includes the ECC Arts Center, the Gail Borden Public Library, the city of Elgin and School District U-46. “The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment,” according to the ECC Arts Center.