Lennie (Ryan Perrin, left) and George (Nigel Goodwin) in Of Mice and Men.
The classic John Steinbeck novella Of Mice and Men
comes to the Stirling Theatre stage as its first production of 2023. Adapted by Steinbeck himself and directed by Tim Riessen (assisted by Sharon Thomas), the play tells the story of Lennie and George, farm workers in Depression-era California trying to scrape together enough money to buy a house as they drift from ranch to ranch.
Curley (Phil Bedworth, left) confronts George (Nigel Goodwin) in front of Lennie (Ryan Perrin).
But when Lennie stirs up trouble on the job, George must choose between protecting his friend or staying the course toward his version of the American dream. "It's a story of brotherly love
," Tim said. "It outlines how the interactions with other folk on the ranch leads to the conclusion which itself is an act of brotherly love.
Of Mice and Men features Itai Gurira, left, Rex Gray, Ryan Perrin, Phil Bedworth, Martin Bowen, Nigel Goodwin and Geraldo Rodrigues.
"One of the main challenges comes from the story being so well-known. There is a plethora of study notes on the net and there are several versions on YouTube. The issue is remaining true to the source material while also giving the actors space to interpret the characters for themselves."
Curley's wife (Nicole Miller, left) gets friendly with Lennie (Ryan Perrin).
Originally performing as a teenager, Tim has returned to the stage in recent years, appearing in Jesus Christ Superstar
and an end-of-year pantomime with the Albany Light Opera and Theatre Company and The Phantom of the Opera, Pride and Prejudice, Anything Goes, Speaking in Tongues, The Glorious Old Time Music Hall, Don't Shoot the Messenger, Blitz!
and The Darling Buds of May
with Limelight Theatre.
Curley (Phil Bedworth, left) doesn't like his wife (Nicole Miller) associating with Lennie (Ryan Perrin).
He has also performed in You Can't Have One
and The Small Hours
at Stirling Theatre and directed David Williamson's Let The Sunshine
at Limelight Theatre in 2017 and Summer of the Seventeenth Doll
at Stirling Theatre in 2021.
Candy (Rex Gray, left) meets Lennie (Ryan Perrin, centre) and George (Nigel Goodwin).
"I wanted to direct Of Mice and Men because it is regarded as a classic with some saying it's Steinbeck's best work
," Tim said. "It's a powerful show the attitudes to people with disabilities and those of colour might be normal for the time but the themes are just as relevant today. This is what drove me; wanting to look at the history we share but also showing the more things change, the more they stay the same
The boss (Martin Bowen, left) lays down the law to Lennie (Ryan Perrin, centre) and George (Nigel Goodwin).
Susan Van Kirk, author of the Cliff Notes Revision Guide for Of Mice and Men
, told the BBC: "Of Mice and Men has universal themes that can be read in any culture and time. John Steinbeck wrote of lessons of the heart, lessons that teach children what it is to be a human being with compassion for his fellow humans and a social conscience
The boss (Martin Bowen, left) with his son Curley (Phil Bedworth) and workers George (Nigel Goodwin) and Whit (Geraldo Rodriques).
Steinbeck himself said, in a now widely published interview: "Of Mice and Men
is a novel that explains life during the great Depression and the reason to why I wrote it is to tell the tale and also teach the world useful knowledge about values of life, racism, prejudice against mentally unstable and loneliness between characters and the world.
Crooks (Itai Gurira, left) gives Lennie (Ryan Perrin) some advice in Of Mice and Men.
"I was born into a moderately rich family and as I have lived by many of those who are disadvantaged, the book had ideas of my opinions about prejudice against certain types of people whether it was poverty, race, gender or intellectually challenged."
Of Mice and Men
George (Nigel Goodwin, left) and Whit (Geraldo Rodrigues) share a joke.
plays at 7.30pm February 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25 with 2pm matinees February 12 and 19. Tickets are $22, $20 concession book at www.trybooking.com/CDWVM
. Stirling Theatre is on Morris Place, Innaloo.