Onomatopoeia Theatre to Stage OF MICE AND MEN This Spring
The cast of ten is headed by Thomas R. Gordon as George and Alexander Kafarakis as Lennie. Mr. Gordon directs and Lisa Monde is Assistant Director.
"Of Mice and Men" is the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, migrant ranch workers living rough in northern California, who yearn for home and stability during the Great Depression. Unlike other down-and-out men, who tended to be loners, this pair are deeply bonded. Lennie is big, dull-witted and incapable of taking care of himself. George, small and quick-witted, has appointed himself the big man's protector and guardian. They are a heart-rendering example of empathy and brotherhood among the powerless. In our present time, this American classic achieves currency and brilliance as an example of understanding and support toward for those who perceive, think, remember and learn differently.
Steinbeck's story has achieved rare distinction as a novella, a play and three acclaimed films. It is based on the author's own experiences as a bindlestiff in the 1920s (before the arrival of the Okies, whom he vividly described in "The Grapes of Wrath"). The title is taken from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse," which read: "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley (oft go awry)." The playscript is Steinbeck's own stage adaptation of his widely read and beloved novella. It represents an experiment in form, which the author described as "a kind of playable novel, written in novel form but so scened that it can be played as it stands."
The Onomatopoeia Theatre Company (www.theOtheatrecompany.com), led by Thomas R. Gordon, plans a faithful adaptation of Steinbeck's classic. The company draws inspiration from a sonic approach to stage language. With this naturalistic play, its attention shifts to "the sounds of nature" in the setting. Mr. Gordon intends for the production concept to draw upon the vivid, impressionistic colors he saw when working in California's Great Valley, where this play is set. The play has a filmlike quality, so it will be presented with a lot of offstage foley, like dogs barking, horseshow games, and the natural sounds that are heard as George and Lennny settle down for night and late day turns into evening. There is unmistakeable currency in the play's theme of "the best laid plans of mice and men." Mr. Gordon explains, "The play's protagonists, two ranch hands, have great plans for future, but circumstances interfere, just as many of us had great expectations that were upset by the current election." This play is part of a series of plays the company has undertaken devoted to the theme of "searching for honor," which has included "Medea" last season and will include "Julius Caesar" this summer, July 7 to 29.
The actors are Thomas R. Gordon as George, Alexander Kafarakis as Lennie, Jim DiMunno as Candy, Joe Sexton as Boss, Xavier Reminick as Curley, Lisa Monde as Curley's Wife, Jamie Geiger as Slim, Samuel Shurtleff as Carlson, Thaddaeus J. Abbott as Whit and Dwaynne Walker-Dixon as Crooks. Curley's dog is played by Shanti, a rescued Sheepdog mongrel.
Director is Thomas R. Gordon. Assistant Director is Lisa Monde. Stage manager is Max Kilsheimer. Assistant stage manager is Dana Robbins. Set design is by Mitch Ost. Lighting design is by Pamela Pangaro. Costume design is byAl Malonga.
Thomas R. Gordon (George, Director), Artistic Director of The Onomatopoeia Theatre Company, grew up in the Richmond, VA area and is a graduate of Radford University and the NYU Educational Theatre Program. Before moving to New York, he worked as a director, actor, light designer, sound designer and theater teacher in Virginia and California. He has directed "Medea," "Arsene Lupin VS Sherlock Holmes," "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead," "Rhinoceros," "Inspecting: Romeo & Juliet," "Let's Play: A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Pseudolus," "A Dream Play," "Dracula," "Macbeth," "The Three Sisters," "The Tempest" and "Lysistrata."
Mr, Gordon explains, "This play explores what is viscerally emotional about taking care of others and loss. It's like Job in the Bible, who demands to know why a just god allows bad things to happen to good people. The story addresses that question with a modern take. It offers the caretaker archetype--someone who steps up and takes responsibility when it is necessary. It also holds a clear lens up to why we care for our disadvantaged. It honors the compassionate part of us--versus what we have today."
Alexander Kafarakis (Lennie) has appeared in "The Beaux' Strategem" for Everyman Theatre, "The Test" at The Players Theatre, "Kikki & Grandpa & Baby" at Chernichin Theatre and "Yentl" at Gene Frankel Theatre, among others. He trained at Towson University and William Esper Studio.
IF YOU GO:
OF MICE AND MEN
April 7 to 29, 2017
Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street (between Broadway and Lafayette)
Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM, Sundays at 1:30 PM
$25, Students and Seniors $15
Box Office: www.theOtheatrecompany.com, 212-777-1767
Subways: B or D or F to Broadway/Layayette; 6 to Bleeker Street. There is elevator service from the street to the subway platforms on Houston Street between Crosby and Lafayette.
Running time: 2.5 hrs with intermission. Critics are invited on or after April 7.
Pictured: Thomas R. Gordon as George and Alexander Kafarakis as Lennie. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.