Travis Brazil directs as Boiler Room Theatre continues its 12th season with John Steinbeck's classic drama Of Mice and Men, starrng Ross Bolen and John Mauldin, opening Friday April 13, at the theatre's venue in the historic Factory at Franklin, for a run that continues through May 5.
"What excites me about this work is the ability to explore one of the most enduring friendships in human history," says Brazil, Of Mice and Men's director who, last summer, appeared as Stanley in the BRT's production of A Streetcar Named Desire.
"It is a chance to put Steinbeck's theory on display: 'If you try to understand each other you will be kind to each other.' I am thrilled to be able to show a basic human truth in so beautiful a form. This play is the ultimate argument for the belief that we all desperately need to care for each other....if only we knew how."
Based on Steinbeck's own experiences as a migrant worker in the 1920s, the title is taken from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse", which read: “The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry. “
The story focuses on a pair of unlikely friends: Lennie, who has the mind of a little boy but the strength of a dangerously powerful man, and George, his quick-witted and cynical protector. Together, the pair work as field hands with the goal of saving enough money to realize their shared dream of buying a ranch of their own. However, just as George sees the possibility of their dream coming to fruition, Lennie's inability to understand or control his own strength eventually becomes their undoing.
The cast of Of Mice an Men stars BRT newcomers Ross Bolen as George and John Mauldin as Lennie.
"There are elements of Lennie in my own family," says Mauldin. "I hope to be able to draw upon my own experiences to create a unique and actualized Lennie that goes beyond his traditional portrayal."
The cast also includes Phil Brady, Dan McGeachy, Corey Caldwell, Zack McCann, Erica Lee Haines, Joel Diggs, Dan Zeigler and Bryce Conner.
"I think that audiences will love this production because so rarely do we get to see ensemble acting of this quality on the stage," adds Brazil. "The experience of Of Mice and Men is a rare one. People of all different ages and backgrounds will be sitting together and faced with a simple, desperately honest truth. It will be a truly powerful event."
Performances will be held every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evening during the run at 8 p.m. There will also be select discount Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. and Thrifty Thursday shows at 8 p.m.
Ticket prices are $27 for adults, $25 for seniors (age 60 and up) and students (age 13 through college with valid ID), and $21 for children ages 3 through 12. Matinee prices are $2 less respectively. All Tuesday shows are two-for-one ($27 for two tickets; no other discounts apply). Thrifty Thursdays allow guests to beat the weekend crowds and grab tickets at the bargain price of $17.
Tickets may be purchased by calling the Boiler Room Theatre at 615-794-7744 or ordered online at www.boilerroomtheatre.com.
Required reading in many high schools, Of Mice and Men was an obvious choice to include in the BRT's recently formed Youth Education Program, nicknamed YEP. YEP productions offers students and teachers a rich, literary experience while providing educators with a variety of curricular connections that help to extend the theatre into the classroom.
As part of the program, the BRT is working to organize "Spirit Nights," where students can attend Of Mice and Men at a special rate while dressing in their school colors. For details about the BRT's YEP program and events, please contact the BRT Box Office or visit www.boilerroomtheatreyep.com.