Pier One Actors Help Library Kick Off "Big Read"

Ariel Van Cleave

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The actors read from Tim O'Brien's Vietnam War novel, "The Things They Carried." (Ariel Van Cleave photo)


     As part of the ongoing “Big Read” hosted by the Friends of the Homer Public Library, members of the Pier One Theater group performed a reading from Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” at the library.

     Seven actors with Pier One Theater read sections of the book Tuesday night. They were Peter Larson, Ken Lanfield, Dave Schneider, Maynard Smith, Barb Peterson, Peter Norton and Lance Petersen. Friends of the Homer Public Library Coordinator Erin Hollowell said she knew this type of performance was necessary.

     “When I thought of the events that we might want to do for the ‘Big Read’, one of the things that I thought of for the very beginning was a Readers’ Theater. I feel like Tim O’Brien’s work is so personal and so compelling that hearing it out loud would just really help you get a flavor for the book. But also kind of entice you to want to read more,” she said.

     There was a small crowd of about 30 in the library’s Fireplace Reading Room. Lance Petersen said he adapted the script to tell the story in what he calls a “collective voice”.

     “The title of Tim O’Brien’s novel ‘The Things They Carried’ is taken from the first chapter, which is a 25-page catalogue of all the things American soldiers in Vietnam carried around with them,” he said.

     The book’s narrator describes his time during the Vietnam War through a series of stories that involve young men. Many of whom were only 18 or 19 years old. And as Smith, Schneider suggest, the narrator may not be reliable.

     “In any war story, but especially a true one, it’s difficult to separate what happened from what seemed to happen,” Smith read.

     Schneider continued, “In many cases a true war story cannot be believed. If you believe it, be skeptical. It’s a question of credibility. Often, the crazy stuff is true and the normal stuff isn’t.”

     More “Big Read” events are scheduled for the next several weeks with a visit from author Tim O’Brien capping off the series on March 1. The complete schedule is available at the Friends of the Homer Public Library website.


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