Cotuit Center for the Arts presents “Of Mice and Men,” a play based on the classic novella by John Steinbeck, January 24 through February 10. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 2 PM. Steve Ross is the producer and director.
“Of Mice and Men” tells the tale of two friends and their struggle to live the American dream in difficult times. George (played by Beau Jackett) and Lennie (Chris Edwards) have been traveling together from ranch to ranch for years, trying to make ends meet and to save enough to buy some land of their own.
The two are polar opposites. George is intelligent, quick-witted, wiry, and small, while Lennie is slow-minded, childlike, and huge. He likes soft things, but does not know his own strength. They look out for each other.
They are hired by a new ranch and begin to believe that they may finally achieve their goal. But trouble brews with the young wife (Sarah Sneed) of the boss’s son (Tim Hystad) becomes interested in Lennie.
“The show deals with hopes and dreams, loneliness, isolation, elation, and rage,” said Ross. “All of those components, throughout history, have been relevant in describing the human condition. People who see this show will see the truth in the writing; they will see creativity in the way the characters are portrayed on the stage, and they are going to be drawn in by the way the characters are portrayed on the stage, and by the characters themselves, by Steinbeck’s very in-depth, very fleshed-out portrayals.”
Ross is excited about his cast. “Beau Jackett has extensive acting experience all over the Cape and has played many different roles in a variety of plays including ‘A Few Good Men’ last year,” he said. “Chris Edwards is relatively new to the area, but has really demonstrated his ability to tackle a broad range of character types. He is doing a great job portraying Lennie, a man who has more difficulty grasping what is going on around him than the average person.”
Tim Hystad plays the role of Curley, the boss’s mean-spirited and aggressive son. “He brings his high-intensity acting to that role, which is just what is needed,” said Ross. Mario Abate is Candy, an aging ranch hand who fears he will soon be useless. “Mario is a great fit for this role,” said Ross. “He has a vulnerability about him that his character needs to have.”
Sara Sneed is Curley’s desperately lonely wife. “She has a sass about her that really works as Curley’s wife,” said Ross, “and she shows her vulnerability too.” She recently appeared in “Mary Poppins” and “Man of La Mancha” at CCftA.
Toby Wilson plays the garrulous character of Carlson, Alex Valentine is Crooks, the black stable hand, and Chuck Clifford is The Boss, the owner of the Ranch. All have appeared in numerous productions at CCftA and across the Cape.
Slim, the skilled and respected mule-driver who best understands George and Lennie’s relationship, is played by Ricky Bourgeois, who also appeared in “A Few Good Men.”
Steinbeck based the tale on his own experiences as a bindlestiff. The character of Lennie was inspired by a real person. The title refers to a line in a poem by Robert Burns: “The best-laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.”
Written a short novel with the structure of a play, “Of Mice and Men” was published in 1937 and appeared on Broadway in November of that year. It was chosen as the best Play of 1938 by the New York Drama Critics Circle. The play was revived on Broadway in 1974 and 2014, and film adaptations were made in 1939 and 1992.
Tickets are $32, $27 for balcony seats. There is a $5 discount for members and a $2 discount for seniors and veterans. For more information, visit www.artsonthecape.org, or call 508-428-0669. Cotuit Center for the Arts is at 4404 Route 28 in Cotuit.
# # #
“Of Mice and Men,” by John Steinbeck
Cotuit Center for the Arts, 4404 Route 28, Cotuit
January 24 through February 10, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 PM, Sunday at 2 PM
$32, $27 for balcony seats, $5 discount for members and $2 discount for seniors and veterans