Smithfield Little Theatre puts on 'Of Mice and Men'

Jonathan Black

The Smithfield Little Theatre begins a three-week performance of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" this weekend.

Steinbeck wrote the novella, which doubles as a play, in 1937. The story centers on two displaced migrant ranch workers — cautious George and gentle giant Lennie — in California during the Great Depression.

The play is directed by Robert Cox, who's been involved in the theater since 2003.

"It's a play about people who are looked down upon by general society," Cox said. "I'm a big fan of good drama and this is one I've been wanting to do for quite sometime."

Auditions were held in December and the 10-person cast began rehearsing at the start of January for the two-and-a-half-hour show.

One of the actors is Joe Tapia, who has been involved in the Smithfield Little Theatre for more than six years. He plays Curly, the son of the man who owns the farm George and Lennie work at in the play.

"My character is really angry a lot. He's dissatisfied with how his life has turned out. That manifests himself in picking fights and being angry all the time," Tapia said. "He's kind of the villain for the lack of a better word."

Married to Tapia's character is the role simply known as Curly's Wife, played by Noel Jordan and the play's only female role. Curly's Wife is a flirtatious, Hollywood hopeful dissatisfied with her life on the ranch.

"She wants to have an amazing, extravagant life," Jordan said. "She married Curly hoping for that."

The Smithfield Little Theatre moved to its current location in 2001 and puts on about three shows a year. About 60 percent of ticket sales for 175-seat theater is made up of reccurring season-ticket holders.

"We developed a very solid customer base here," Cox said. "We love these people."

Next up for the theater will be "Grease," which premiers in late April.

Black can be reached by phone at 757-247-4607.

If you want to go

When: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 23-25 and March 2-4; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26 and March 5.

Where: Smithfield Little Theatre, 210 N. Church St., Smithfield.

Cost: $18 adults, $10 children.

More info: or 757-357-7338.

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