John Steinbeck’s seminal classic, Of Mice and Men, depicts life in Depression-era California, but the themes and message of this story persist today. Dramaturg Bruce Costella explains that, “This kind of cultural ubiquity can be attributed to both the story’s shrewd prose and lasting heart.”
Steinbeck initially conceived Of Mice and Men as a marriage of both literary and theatrical forms (a kind of “play-novelette”) to reach an audience that might not pick up a book but might see a play. “By keeping the text lean, one could lift the dialogue directly from the book and still come away with the plot,” Costella says. “It was also composed with the idea that the communal experience of viewing a performance in a theatre could be profoundly more intimate than a novella experienced alone.”
For Theatre UCF students, Of Mice and Men presents an opportunity to delve into a work that has had a tremendous impact on American culture and literature. Carson L. Betts, an MFA student studying acting, portrays Candy in the production. “I feel a tremendous amount of pressure, because I feel as though we are supporting the weight of one of the great classics of the American canon. But the process has been really collaborative and I’m having a lot of fun exploring this piece.”
Orlando Lopez, who is a BFA student studying acting and portrays Carlson in the production agrees that taking on such an important work takes the effort of the whole cast and crew.“Working with [director] Mark Brotherton is a delight.… He made a few adjustments that we all believe made the piece come together. Everybody is integrating and involved in this process which makes the cast work well together.
To see this American classic come to life, come to the UCF Black Box from November 8-18. This production has two additional matinee performances Saturday, November 10 and Saturday, November 17. Tickets, info and more at performingarts.cah.ucf.edu.
Of Mice and Men
By John Steinbeck
Directed by Mark Brotherton
November 8 – 18
Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Wednesday performances at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday performances at 2 p.m.
A post-show reception will immediately follow the November 8 performance.
Drifters George and Lennie arrive at a ranch hoping to earn enough to buy their own place. When a woman is found dead, it’s obvious the man-child Lennie has accidentally killed her. George faces a moral dilemma: should he deal with Lennie before the ranchers find him?