I went to see the stage adaptation of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men tonight. I said in my very first post that this blog would be partly about theatre... well for the past year, almost the only theatre I saw was when I was working. It's just not the same when you have to watch for ques, or keep a spotlight steady, or wrangle a hundred dancing children. Since Of Mice and Men is one of my favorite books ever, and this stage version was amazing, I thought I'd share.
First of all, it was a free performance at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport, PA. So already it's awesome because it's free. To make it even better, the company was the National Players. (http://www.nationalplayers.org/) Pretty legit.
The acting was great, for the most part. One of the guys (playing Whit) was the least convincing ranch hand ever... well, the least convincing straight ranch hand. The guy playing Slim would have been great if he would have spoken in his normal voice. He was obviously using his manly man acting voice. Other than that, the actors were entirely convincing. Lennie and George were especially great. George was pretty much exactly how I picture him in my head when I read the book. Lennie was adorable and played perfectly... which made it especially difficult to not sob at the end.
The sets were a little questionable. Everything was brown, and most of the costumes were brown. It was a little monotonous. The set did everything it needed to, though, and they used it well. It was mostly just burlap, crates, and 2x4s. The lighting was pretty incredible. Lots of up-lighting and side lights. There were 8 dark blue Parcans on on the second electric the whole time... which worked great for night scenes, but didn't make much sense for indoor and daytime scenes. That's probably the only lighting I would have changed... added some other colors, or just made them a more neutral color... I don't know, it just kind of bothered me.
I loved the script. It stuck to the book pretty accurately. I don't think they omitted anything, and actually added a little to some scenes... I think just to give Curley's dad and wife some more stage time. I was very pleasantly surprised that they didn't change anything. The only thing I didn't like about the staging is whenever a character left the scene, they didn't exit the stage... they just stood in the back and watched the action. It was a little distracting/weird/creepy. I'd like to hear the director's explanation.
Overall, I'd probably give it an 8 on a scale of 10. It was a wonderful production, with a wonderful cast. It would have been pretty impossible to get a full 10, because they would have had to let me design the set and lights... and have a hand in the directing... so an 8 from me is pretty amazing.
I would like to see more shows at the CAC. I'm pretty sure this is only the second time I've been there. If they ever hired anyone ever, I would work there in a heartbeat. It's a gorgeous space, and their tech seems pretty awesome. Maybe next time I see something there, I'll take a bunch of resumes and just give one to every employee I see. :-P