The best laid plans of mice and men…
Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winner John Steinbeck’s tale of two drifters is one of the most widely read stories in America. Written as both a novella and a script for a play, Of Mice and Men tells the tragic story of two California migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression. George and Lennie have delusions of making enough money to buy their own place. Lennie, a man-child, is a little boy in the body of a man. George is ever cautious of his gentle giant friend, dangerously powerful yet in need of constant reassurance.

Although Steinbeck emphasizes dreams throughout this work, his characters are often powerless, due to intellectual, economic and social realities. Fate is felt most heavily as George is left to face the question of how to deal with Lennie who, although in great danger, dreams only of their future, of their farm—as the sound of destiny bounces off the mountains.

Statement from Director Ian Belknap

John Steinbeck is the 20th Century's biographer of the worker. He writes of dirt and straw—a life that looks beautiful in a photograph and is ugly to inhabit. Steinbeck, unlike his contemporaries, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, lived in the muck. He knew migrant farm workers that drifted to a golden California where fruit was ripe to pick, only to find their dreams scorched in the sun. All of Steinbeck’s characters are people that cannot change their station in life and none do so more beautifully and tragically than George and his giant friend, Lenny, in Of Mice and Men

This production looks, sounds and smells like the worker of 1930s; however, this play could be set yesterday, today or tomorrow as dirt, leaves and straw will always blanket the earth, mice will always gnaw for a scrap and men will always sleep under a bowl of stars. Drive on any stretch of the crossroads of America today. Barns with fractured structures appear, workers wear the same distressed denim—the records of their lives, hands are cracked and covered in soot from a day’s work. Some sleep in tents, mobile homes or under an overpass. Look in America’s greatest cities or in the cul-de-sacs of our suburbs, the worker exists. He wears different clothes and his problems are mortgages and tuitions. The context of our world has changed, but our daily values remain the same as in Of Mice and Men.

Of Mice and Men continues to fascinate audiences and artists as it shows us ourselves—the workers—and speaks to our shared human condition: to want, to love, to fear and to die.

Appearing in photos: Christopher Michael McFarland, Joseph Midyett, Megan Bartle, Yaegel T. Welch, Ray Chapman, Joseph Tisa, Chris Thorn, Michael McDonald, Noah Putterman. Photos by Richard Termine.