Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck’s classic Depression era tale, is a well-known story of friendship, freedom and loss. Steinbeck wrote the stage adaption of his novella, and nothing is lost in translation from the page to the stage. The Antrim Playhouse in Suffern is currently putting on a moving and powerful performance of this American classic.
At the heart of the play is the deep friendship between George and Lennie. Actors Scott Schneider (George) and Stavros Adamides (Lennie) bring this bond to life. What at first glance seems to be an unbalanced and incredibly unlikely friendship later reveals itself as something that both men rely on to survive. The relationship between these two men is tested throught the play, as George tries to care for and protect his mentally disabled friend Lennie.
Schneider portrays the role of George, Lennie’s protector with ease. He quickly and naturally moves between playful joking to anger and frustration, adding complexity and depth to his relationship with the slow-minded, yet loyal, Lennie.
Adamides plays Lennie with a deftness that makes the character believable and relatable. His honest performance ensures his character does not become a caricature of a mentally challenged man. The small nervous mannerisms and the halted speech pattern employed by Adamides bring Lennie to life as a vulnerable gentle giant.
The companionship that runs deep between Lennie and George and the childlike helplessness of Lennie heightens the drama of the heartbreaking climax. Even knowing the inevitable tragic fate of George and Lennie before the curtain rises, the final scene is difficult to watch because of the emotion both Schneider and Adamides bring to the stage.
Sheldon Roberts, who plays Crooks, an African American stable hand, also puts forth a strong performance. Roberts’ quiet and subtle acting style allows the audience to easily understand and sympathize with the sense of loneliness and anger that Crooks feels because of his forced segregation from the rest of the ranch.
The sets, designed by Brianne Higgins, are authentic and full of small details that help create a realist atmospheric on stage. The bunkhouse set, the location for a majority of the play, is particularly well done.
The Antrim Players performance of Of Mice and Men is a moving piece of theater and well worth the price of admission. Director Brook Malloy has assembled and guided a talented group of actors who successfully bring Steinbeck’s words to life. The company’s performance is thought provoking, tragic and worth checking out.
The Antrim Players will be performing Of Mice and Men for two more weekends: June 22, 23, 29 and 30 at 8 p.m. and June 24 at 2 p.m. at the Antrim Playhouse in Suffern, NY. Tickets can be purchased at the group's website or by calling the reservation hotline at 845-354-9503 for $20 for adults and $18 for seniors. The performances on the weekend of the 29 have been added due to popular demands, so purchase your tickets soon before they are gone.