The American Place Theatre is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization. Click here to DONATE and help Keep Literature (A)live!

The Things They Carried Cover

The Facts

The Things They Carried
by Tim O'Brien
Performed by
Billy Lyons
Wynn Handman
Recommended Ages
14 and up


All Stage Presentations include a 15 minute pre-show interactive discussion, a one hour performance, followed by a 15 minute post-show discussion, and a teacher resource guide. To get more information, or to begin the booking process, please fill out this form.

The Things They Carried / Tim O'Brien

Show InfoShow Info
BackstageGo Backstage
Reading RoomReading Room

This masterwork of contemporary literature is a collection of short pieces about the character, Tim O'Brien, and his experiences surrounding the Vietnam War. He presents a blurred line between truth and reality, fact and fiction, that makes his journey unforgettable.

Live performance of The Things They Carried

This Literature to Life original, adapted for the stage in 2004 features sixty minutes of verbatim performance from this unique and important piece of American Literature.  Having been developed and premiered at Playhouse Square in Cleveland in collaboration with Mr. O’Brien, the actor leads us through five of the short stories from the book including The Rainy River and The Man I Killed.  With original cello music as underscoring, the audience lays witness to the complex issues of war and the universal struggle of the soldier.  Surrounded by a pre and post show interactive discussion the audience will explore themes including ethics, making choices and violence.

The Things They Carried ©1990 by Tim O’Brien
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and used by permission of the author.

Photo YouTube

COMPANY WORDS: O’Brien’s Story Comes to Life at Joe’s Pub INCLUDES VIDEO Video Included
Posted by Alexandra Scuro
COMPANY WORDS: O’Brien’s Story Comes to Life at Joe’s Pub

This was the first in a series that continued last night with Fahrenheit 451.

As a relatively new addition to The American Place Theatre family – and as a lover of theatre and live performance, but newcomer to all things backstage and behind the scenes – I had the most wonderful experience at Joe’s Pub on November 5, 2010 for the Literature to Life performance of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried.


HAPPENING SOON: Telling a True War Story - November 5 at 7pm
Posted by David Kener
HAPPENING SOON: Telling a True War Story - November 5 at 7pm

In 2006, The American Place Theatre selected The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien as our Literature to Life Award recipient. That season, I traveled to Philadelphia to meet Tim and attend his presentation at the Public Library.  On Nov 5th at 7pm, as part of the Preview of the Arts 2011 Festival, we will be presenting our presentation with live music of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried at Joe’s Pub along with a panel discussion on the themes he introduced that night in Philadelphia.


Kids Get a Taste of Literature Without Sugar Coating
Posted by Rob Bradshaw

When it’s for kids, you add sugar. Unless you’re American Place Theatre. Then you serve it straight. The Manhattan-based company, which specializes in adapting serious books for the stage, is going to offer Cleveland-area middle- and high-school students some hard stuff in two productions about young men who survive real-life horror, violence and despair.


Audience Response

"I hope you have a sense of how much impact seeing The Things They Carried had on these kids. They raved about it all the way back to the dorm...and the next morning they were still having a lively debate about it. It's a cliche to say the performance brought history to life for them, but it is really true in this case."

Frances Owens,
Teacher at U.S. Senate Page

Watch Video

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust