Thursday, November 13, 2014

Two More Chances

Tonia, Wyona and I went to see the encore of Of Mice and Men tonight. 

Lurene asked her mom why she was going to a performance that was going to be sad. 

That is the question we have to face with many shows, in fact just about all of them that we see. While there is sadness, more than a tear of two at the end of this performance, the theatre is the best place for me to “see who were back then, and to infer who we are now”. 

The three of us were ready for a break at the intermission. We had been informed by Rebecca that the interview with Anna Shapiro at the intermission would be telling so we got back to our seats in 15 minutes but we took some time to stretch our legs.W

asn’t that interview-film just the best – those images from the 30’s – the haying; the children standing outside of the wire fences, looking at the bunnies; a mom walking behind in a black suit, just like the one my mother used to wear.

Evocative of the early prairie years. 

And the clips of interviews with Franco and O’Dowd telling us why they had re-read Steinbeck when looking for ways to colour their charaters. 

 ... scene in the bunkhouse ...
The prairie feel of the opening scene was captured by that small brook and the men sleeping out under the stars.

 I couldn’t help but think of the many nights I have laid out and enjoyed the quiet of the night, its blackness and the crisp feel of a small wind floating by.

I thought the bunkhouse was going to be my favorite set. 

Lennie begs for the story of how their lives will go.
But it was the scene in Crooks’ house where I felt the most warmth – that space beside the manure pile, now peopled with dreams of life’s changes.

Eventually didn’t we have Crooks, Lennie, Smiley, George, the boss and Curly’s wife – all gathered together in the place that was off-limits to five of them.  And each of them with different dreams. That scene was such a charm.

Curly's wife -- she doesn't have any other name
I had to come home and look up the word bindlestiff. There wasn’t enough in the context of the film for me to make a smart guess.

Apparently he is a robber. “A bindle is the bag, sack, or carrying device stereotypically used by the American sub-culture of hobos. A bindlestiff was a robber preying on hobos and the bindle's contents.”

Steinbeck, in explaining some of the text of Of Mice and Men, says that he was a bindlestiff himself.

On other matters he goes on to say that “in every bit of honest writing in the world there is a base theme. Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love. There are shorter means, many of them. There is writing promoting social change, writing punishing injustice, writing in celebration of heroism, but always that base theme. Try to understand each other.” (— John Steinbeck in his 1938 journal entry)

That might be the best answer as to why I go see shows like this.

 I highly recommend a fabulous production to you. Of course, take your kids.   Book either Nov, 23 or 24th if it is showing near you.  Fabulous seats are available at the Crowfoot Crossing Cineplex.  In our theatre there were only about 20 people.  The three of us spread out along the row with our candy, popcorn and drinks as though we were in one of the boxes at a famous theatre.  And we had just about as much fun as if we had been in the Longacres Theatre enjoying the evening.



  1. Xavier and I had a date last night and were watching here in Ottawa. A beautiful production. Xavier thought the acting was really great. I had read up a little in advance on the themes of the themes of the story and on the way to the theatre talked to Xavier a bit about it. I mentioned that women are not portrayed in a very nice way, but that if you can set that aside, the story explores some universal themes: loneliness, the need for companionship and friendship, about dreams, about how everyone has moments when they are cruel to others even if they have suffered themselves. And of course about he literary technique of foreshadowing.

    I guess I was channeling Arta.

  2. I woke several times in the night, each time remembering something different about the production. Those red lips and the double-red shoes, the bottle of vermin killer, the laughter of Lennie as he saw the water ripple away from him in the first scene, the loneliness of Curly's wife, the last scene of Lennie looking out into the darkness, just about to seeing his dream, confirming again that he really could have a rabbit hutch.

    What did Xavier think about the title?


  3. so happy you guys went to see it too!

  4. I told Xavier that you took Duncan and that after he asked why you always take him to the depression shows. :-) Xavier laughed. I also told him that Duncan might be the only other boy lucky enough to have had his mother take him to the show on a date. He laughed at that too.

  5. My comment disappeared. It was a wonderful performance with more subtle jokes than I thought there would be knowing the sadness of the story. A fantastic night.

  6. Great acting and fabulous show. The popcorn was great but there a no more refills on large popcorn. That sucks!