WASHINGTON’S VAUNTED Keegan Theatre Company make their annual visit to Galway next week when they bring the John Steinbeck classic Of Mice and Men to the Town Hall Theatre.
Set in California during the Great Depression, Of Mice and Men is the tragic story of two displaced ranch workers travelling from place to place and job to job as a result of the economic recession.
These unlikely friends are quick-witted, worldly-wise, George and simple-minded but physically powerful Lennie. What unites this disparate duo is their dream of some day settling down on their own piece of land and finding a better life.
We watch as George and Lennie flee the scene of a terrible misunderstanding and move on to face a world marked by loneliness, misunderstanding, and callousness. Though the scope is narrow, the theme is universal: it is friendship and a shared dream that make life meaningful.
Originally published in 1937, Of Mice and Men was Steinbeck's first attempt at writing in the form of novel-play termed a “play-novelette” by one critic. Steinbeck wanted to write a novel that could be played from its lines, or a play that could be read like a novel
Structured in three acts of two chapters each, it was intended to be both a novella and a script for a play.
The book was an immediate success, hitting the best-seller lists and garnering enthusiastic reviews. That same year it was staged on Broadway where it ran for more than 200 performances and won the coveted New York Drama Critics Circle Award for 1937. The eminent drama critic John Mason Brown declared that onstage, Of Mice and Men “emerges…as the most poignant statement of human loneliness our theatre has produced.”
Two years later, the novel was filmed for the first time, with Lon Chaney jr as Lennie and Burgess Meredith as George. It was filmed again for TV in 1981, and for a third time, with John Malkovich as Lennie, in 1992, bearing ample testimony to the story’s enduring appeal. Indeed many critics consider Of Mice and Men to be Steinbeck’s finest work.
Keegan Theatre Co’s production of Of Mice and Men is directed by Kerry Waters Lucas and features Mark A Rhea and Danny Gavigan respectively in the central roles of George and Lennie. Also featuring in the cast of 10 are Dan Martin as the ranch boss, John Keena as his son Curley, Lee Matthews as Curley’s wife and, as the ranch-hands, KJ Thorarinsson (Slim ), Kevin Adams (Carlson ), Matt Boliek (Candy ), and Paul Andrew Morton (Crooks ).
Of Mice and Men is at the Town Hall for two nights only on Tuesday September 22 and Wednesday 23 at 8pm nightly. Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777.