MEREDITH — Every February, the Winni Players, the community theatre branch of The Winnipesaukee Playhouse, challenges its members to stage a piece of classic American literature. Though in a new building, this year is no exception as they will be staging John Steinbeck's renowned novel Of Mice and Men from February 7-9 and 14-16.
"The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry," wrote the poet Robert Burns, which inspired the title of John Steinbeck's beloved classic novel Of Mice and Men, a compassionate and universal statement of survival. Steinbeck's tale, written as a novel in 1937 and adapted by Steinbeck for the stage that very same year, is the story of the unlikely friendship of George and Lennie as they travel through California during the Great Depression and find work on a ranch. Intelligent but uneducated, George, and strong yet simple-minded, Lennie, want nothing more than to settle down on their own farm and "live off the fat of the land." But their dreams are thwarted when Lennie's size and strength make him a danger.
The production will be directed by Katie Dunn. Usually found on the Playhouse stage, Dunn is making her Winni Players directing debut. The cast features Michael Baker as Lennie, Bryan Halperin as George and Tamara McGonagle as the promiscuous wife of the ranch owner's son. The actors inhabiting the ranch include Ray Dudley, Dana Gardner, Matt Finch, Matt McGonagle, Will Robertson, Jim Rogato and Damien Carter.
Dunn says, "This is a story not only about survival, but also about hope and friendship. There's a reason these two unlikely pals travel around together—no one wants to go it alone. And it is the gritty, raw truth found in all of these characters that has made it withstand the test of time and has made it a touching piece of literature for people of all ages."
This will be the first production at the Playhouse's new theatre to be performed in "thrust" configuration, meaning that seating will be situated on three sides of the stage, bringing the action very close to all audience members.
Of Mice and Men is sponsored by Bonnette, Page and Stone and will be performed at The Winnipesaukee Playhouse at 50 Reservoir Road in Meredith. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Early reservations are strongly encouraged. Tickets are $18 for seating in the orchestra, $10 for seating in the balcony. Tickets can be ordered by calling (603) 279-0333 or by using a credit card at www.winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org.