May 102018
 

Of Mice and Men

by John Steinbeck

Information Evening June 21

Audition Dates 28  & 30 June

Character descriptions and requirements:

Lennie Small is a migrant worker who is intellectually disabled; with a desire to feel and stroke soft textured things, like animal fur, hair, materials. He is very large and very strong. He depends on his friend George to give him advice and protect him in situations he does not understand. The two men share a vision of a farm that they will own together, a vision that Lennie believes in wholeheartedly. Gentle and kind, Lennie nevertheless does not understand his own strength. His love of petting soft things, such as small animals, dresses, and people’s hair, leads to disaster. Suggested age ranges 20-40s to match roughly with George. Large (strong) stature.

George Milton A migrant worker, A small, wiry, quick-witted man who travels with, and cares for, Lennie. Although he frequently speaks of how much better his life would be without his caretaking responsibilities, George is obviously devoted to Lennie. George’s behaviour is motivated by the desire to protect Lennie and, eventually, deliver them both to the farm of their dreams. Though George is the source of the often-told story of life on their future farm, it is Lennie’s childlike faith that enables George to actually believe his account of their future. Lennie’s friend, George gives the big man advice and tries to watch out for him, ultimately taking responsibility for not only his life but also his death. Suggested age ranges 20-40s to match roughly with Lennie, smaller in stature than Lennie.

Slim is a highly skilled mule driver and the acknowledged “prince” of the ranch. Slim is the only character that seems to be at peace with himself. The other characters often look to Slim for advice. For instance, only after Slim agrees that Candy should put his decrepit dog out of its misery does the old man agree to let Carlson shoot it. A quiet, insightful man, Slim alone understands the nature of the bond between George and Lennie, and Slim becomes an ally to George and helps protect Lennie when he gets in trouble with Curley. Suggested age ranges 20-50s to match roughly with other cast.

Candy Sometimes called “the swamper,” he is an aging ranch handyman. Candy lost his hand in an accident and worries about his future on the ranch. Fearing that his age is making him useless, he seizes on George’s description of the farm he and Lennie will have, offering his life’s savings if he can join George and Lennie in owning the land. The fate of Candy’s ancient dog, which Carlson shoots in the back of the head in an alleged act of mercy, foreshadows the manner of Lennie’s death. Suggested age ranges 50+

The Boss is the superintendent of the ranch. He hires and fires and oversees all workers and work. Responsible for keeping people on task and productive. Reported to be a fair minded man who Candy happily reports that the boss once delivered a gallon of whiskey to the ranch-hands on Christmas Day. Suggested age ranges 50+

Curley The son of the ranch owner, the boss’s son, Curley wears high-heeled boots to distinguish himself from the field hands. Rumoured to be a champion prize-fighter, he is a confrontational, mean-spirited, and aggressive young man who seeks to compensate for his small stature by picking fights with larger men. Recently married, Curley is plagued with jealous suspicions and is extremely possessive of his flirtatious young wife. Lennie crushes his hand in a fight and this leads to an ongoing enmity. Suggested age ranges 20-30s to match roughly with his wife and father

Curley’s wife is given no name; she is Curley’s possession. She taunts and provokes the ranch hands into talking with her, an action that causes Curley to beat them up. The men on the farm refer to her as a “tramp,” a “tart,” and a “looloo.” Dressed in fancy, feathered red shoes, she represents the temptation of female sexuality in a male-dominated world. George sees her as a “tart,” but Lennie is fascinated by her soft hair and looks. She is unsympathetically portrayed as a female tease until the final scene, in which we hear about her earlier dreams. Curley’s wife is not a villain, but rather also a victim. Like the ranch-hands, she is desperately lonely and has broken dreams of a better life. Suggested age ranges 20-30s to match roughly with husband and ranch hands.

Crooks is the black stable-hand, gets his name from his crooked back. Proud, bitter, and caustically funny, he is isolated from the other men because of the colour of his skin. Despite himself, Crooks becomes fond of Lennie, and though he derisively claims to have seen countless men following empty dreams of buying their own land, he asks Lennie if he can go with them, offers his life savings to go with them to their dream farm and hoe in the garden. Suggested age ranges 40+

Carlson A ranch-hand, Carlson complains bitterly about Candy’s old, smelly dog. He convinces Candy to put the dog out of its misery. When Candy finally agrees, Carlson promises to execute the task without causing the animal any suffering. Later, George uses Carlson’s gun to shoot Lennie. Suggested age ranges 20-40s to match roughly with other hands

Whitt A ranch hand described as a young man prematurely aged by his life and work. Someone who tries to impress Slim with his connection to celebrity.Suggested age ranges 20-40s to match roughly with other hands

Synopsis:

Based on his best selling novella Of Mice and Men published in 1937, John Steinbeck adapted the story to the stage. Set in California during and just after The Great Depression it tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in search of new job opportunities. George, an affable migrant farm worker, and Lennie, a towering simple-minded pleasantly humble young man, have a shared dream to escape the drudgery of their lives. They are bound by George’s devotion and Lennie’s “pathetic helplessness”. George’s guardianship keeps Lennie out of trouble, but we soon see this is a slippery slope. Lennie’s displays of love result in several deaths ranging from mice and puppies to a beautiful woman. Eventually, in the face of a lynch mob, George kills Lennie to put him out of his misery. Steinbeck based the story on his own experiences working alongside migrant farm workers as a teenager in the 1910s. The title is taken from Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse”, which reads: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley”. (The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry.)

Suburb & state: Campbelltown NSW

Contact info: director Felicity M Burke send PM on facebook or via links on website link http://www.ctgi.org.au/of-mice-and-men

Company Name: Campbelltown Theatre Group

Link to audition event on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/events/214337576007946/

Link to further information and audition forms:http://www.ctgi.org.au/of-mice-and-men