WATCH | ‘Of Mice and Men’: Pocket brings to life Steinbeck’s classic, controversial story

The cast for "Of Mice and Men" rehearses Thursday night. (The Sentinel-Record/Lance Brownfield)
The cast for "Of Mice and Men" rehearses Thursday night. (The Sentinel-Record/Lance Brownfield)

Continuing a series of classic works, the Pocket Community Theatre, 170 Ravine St., will present John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" from Feb. 2-11.

Director Steven Mitchell says the play is "long overdue" as the playhouse recently presented "The Glass Menagerie" and "Death of a Salesman." He says it was chosen because they feel it will make "a good start" for the 2024 season.

While many are familiar with the work, Mitchell warns it may not be suitable for younger viewers as it features quite a bit of profanity, racist themes and racial slurs.

"I don't recommend it for young children," he says. "It's not appropriate for them. However, this particular play and story is read by many high school students in the ninth grade and sometimes 10th grade."

He recommends that anyone below this age group, 15 or younger, should not attend the performance.

A frequent target of book bans, the 1937 story follows two migrant ranch workers, George Milton and Lennie Small, as they travel throughout California in search of work during the Great Depression. Milton takes care of Small, who is mentally disabled, as he finds discrimination and misunderstandings wherever he goes.

Playing the part of Milton is Dan Breshears while Small is portrayed by Rick McKean. Other roles include, in order of appearance, Candy, played by Keith Bell; The Boss, Mike Burroughs; Curley, Jason Lane Moore; Curley's wife, Autumn Slaught; Slim, Kevin Day; Carlson, George Wilson; Whit, Jacob Marcus; Crooks, Cameron Dickerson; and Candy's Dog, Bleu Day.

Video not playing? Click here https://www.youtube.com/embed/KE7_oyJZpfU  

"Those who know the story will understand that this was Steinbeck's way of showing man's inhumanity to man during this period of time," said Mitchell. "And it's there as a reminder of how we used to be, and how far we've come."

While many people in the United States were exposed to the book or the play in school, Mitchell says he never got the chance, and it took him a while to remember what it was about when he was initially asked to direct it. But, since working on the play, he has taken a liking to the story.

"I've known bits and pieces of it," he said. "So, I didn't really have an attachment to it, and as I've started directing it I really have become very close to this story."

Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m., while Friday and Saturday shows start at 7 p.m. Adult tickets are $20 while students and seniors are $15.

"There's a lot of recognition with this show," said Mitchell. "People know it. And they're going to be interested to come see how we do it."

  photo  The cast for "Of Mice and Men" rehearses Thursday night. (The Sentinel-Record/Lance Brownfield)
 
 
  photo  The cast for "Of Mice and Men" rehearses Thursday night. (The Sentinel-Record/Lance Brownfield)
 
 
  photo  Director Steven Mitchell gives commands to the stage crew through a wireless headset while actors rehearse Thursday night. (The Sentinel-Record/Lance Brownfield)
 
 
  photo  Actors rehearse a scene in which Lennie Small, left, accidentally kills a puppy by crushing it. (The Sentinel-Record/Lance Brownfield)
 
 
  photo  The cast for "Of Mice and Men" rehearses Thursday night. (The Sentinel-Record/Lance Brownfield)
 
 


Upcoming Events