Great acting in the 30s story of Lennie And George
BY GEORGE J. DACRE
If Rockland County had an awards program like the Hollywood Oscars, Stavros Adamides as the very slow-witted Lennie and Scott Schneider as his fellow migrant and protector George, would certainly get nominations.
They and a very talented cast put on the Steinbeck work Sunday afternoon in a memorable performance. Set in the 1930s during the Great Depression in California, “Of Mice and Men” was an expose of the terrible conditions migrant workers faced and how they lived day to day on picking lettuce and the like.
George and Lennie had a dream they shared of one day owning a chicken ranch, and having pigs and rabbits which Lennie loved to kill (even though he never meant to) and they constantly talked up the dream. George protected Lennie so he could be employed, but even though Lennie tried to not talk to his employers or bunkmates he was a very large, strong and constantly a source of trouble.
The story opens with Lennie and George on the banks of the Salinas River on their way to a migrant farm, jobs, food and a place to sleep. George stresses to Lennie he is not to speak and to be on his best behavior. George gets angry with Lennie who threatens to run off to the mountains and live alone.
But they ultimately realize they need each other and move on to a bunkhouse on the farm where they have been promised jobs. What follows is a series of crisis moments with their fellow bunkmates, the boss of the farm, and Curley, who is in charge of the workers. Curley goads Lennie so much there is a fight amongst all and Curley hits Lennie over and over again till Lennie catches Curley’s fist and crushes his hand.
Enter Curley’s beautiful wife, played by Kate Rodman, who is very seductive and takes a shine to big, strong Lennie.
This proves to be fateful for the wife who somehow winds up alone with Lennie and seduces him to stroke her hair. Lennie does, very strongly, and Curley’s wife pulls away which panics Lennie, especially when she screams and he grabs her face and breaks her neck killing her.
Steinbeck’s writing makes “Of Mice And Men” a brilliant piece of theatre and the play’s direction by Brooke Malloy is inspired with the action focused on the dream of Lennie and George and the turmoil that is caused when they get to work on the migrant farm. The set design is authentic with the bunkhouse well depicted.
All the action winds up with a highly climatic scene where George and Lennie talk about the chicken ranch but this time the ending is tragic and George puts a single shot into Lennie’s head and kills him. This play is well done, very dramatic and it makes you feel as if you were there living in that time.
I rate it Three Stars Out of Four!!! It will play for two more weekends at Antrim Playhouse, Spook Rock Road In Wesley Hills. Tickets at antrimplayhouse.com.