It's the worst of the Great Depression and, as one of John Steinbeck's characters observes, the whole country is full of mutts: men with no steady job, no family and no fixed address, penniless itinerant farm and ranch hands that the novelist calls "the loneliest guys in the world."
George and Lennie have been together on the road for a while. Though Lennie is physically powerful, a mental condition has left him too childlike to survive on his own; George has been his protector on the open road. Each has dreams: an end to the endless road, a farm of their own that they can't be thrown off of, a measure of softness in times gone too hard. But every man's for himself when labor is dirt cheap—and laborers are treated like dirt. Can this unlikely pair and their friends find a way up from the bottom of the nation's food chain?
Actor, director and occasional theater critic Jesse Gephart not only helms this Theatre in the Park production, he also plays Lennie to actor Ryan Brock's George. The staging also features Sam Whisnant as the heavy, Curley, Page Purgar as Curley's Wife, Jeffrey Nugent as the kindly Slim and John Honeycutt as Candy, the aging farmhand. The show runs Fridays–Sundays through Sept. 4 (except Sept. 1), with a Thursday performance on Aug. 25. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays–Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. —Byron Woods