Cardinal Stage Company launches its 2015-16 season with John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” directed by Randy White. Performances are Sept. 11 through 20 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater in downtown Bloomington, according to a Cardinal Stage press release.
“‘Of Mice and Men’ follows the very successful Cardinal model of utilizing the best local and IU actors and then bringing in extraordinary visiting artists from around the country to round out the wonderful ensembles,” White said.
“Of Mice and Men” tells the story of George and Lennie, Great Depression-era migrant workers who travel together. However, the mismatched pair’s dream of escaping their circumstances and living off the fat of the land runs into the economic realities of the depression, a labor system that limits their options and innate human frailties, according to the press release.
“The cast has been rehearsing for about four weeks before opening,” White said. “In that time, we’ve talked through characters and scenes and worked each story moment repeatedly — making sense of the beats before starting to put the big sweep of the story together. We’ll also spend a good deal of time on the fights and scene changes.”
The cast for the performance consists of people from all over the United States along with some locals, he said.
“We have hired four out-of-town actors — they’re from California, New York and Indianapolis,” White said. “We also have two IU Theater and Drama students in the show, and the rest of the cast are local actors.”
The cast is remarkably experienced, he said.
Mike Price, who plays George, has been acting for more than 30 years and has been in more than 35 Cardinal shows. Robert Neal, who plays Lennie, is a regular at the Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis.
Mia Fitzgibbon, who is playing the wife of Curly, the primary antagonist, is a senior in the IU Theatre and Drama BFA musical theater program. This is her second show at Cardinal Stage.
The rest of the actors have each been on stage for many years, and many have been in multiple Cardinal Stage productions.
“Of Mice and Men” was produced with IU College of Arts and Sciences’ Themester in mind. Each fall, the Themester invites the Bloomington campus and community to explore an idea from multiple perspectives through a variety of courses and events.
Exhibits, plays, speakers, films and service-learning activities provide opportunities for investigation and dialogue about the theme, “The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet,” according to IU press release.
The production will also launch a new program called “Play it forward.”
The program makes it possible for parents, grandparents, friends and members of the Big Brothers/Sisters program to purchase a ticket and then bring a teen free of charge to “Of Mice and Men,” according to the Cardinal Stage website.
Tickets can be purchased at the Cardinal Stage Box Office at 900 S. Walnut St. The box office is open weekdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m..
Tickets can also be purchased online at cardinalstage.org.
Ticket prices are $18.95 to $31.95 for adults and $10.95 to $18.95 for students.
There are group rates that have discounted tickets available for groups of 10 or more, according to the Cardinal Stage website.
As with most Cardinal shows, the audience will consist of a broad range of people from the local community and from the campus, White said.
“This being a Themester show, we’ll get a larger portion of schoolchildren and undergraduates, which makes us happy,” White said.
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