Of Mice and Men
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Randy Noojin
March 20, 2013
What is your job on this show?
What is your show about?
A very intimate, Brechtian and unsentimental OF MICE AND MEN, for the people and by the people.
What type of theater do you like most to work on?
Classics. As much as I love new plays and even write them myself, I feel most honored to play characters in stories that have endured because they ring true through generations. Plus, you feel a certain brotherhood with the many actors before you who invigorated the role. I like being even a thread in the fabric of American theatre.
Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
After I left the small ponds of university training for the big pond of NYC, it became clear very quickly that gold and glory had better not be my motivations for working in the dramatic arts. It would have to the satisfaction of saying the words of great writers and living in the imaginary circumstances of brilliantly written plays. As much as I sometimes obsess on the desire to win a commercial spot or a guest star role in TV or film, I know that wouldn't suffice, the dream remains a living wage acting in great plays that enrich the audience and all who create it.
How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
I met our director, Frank Licato, a decade ago when I saw his fantastic production of REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT. That night I heard from a cast member that a one week replacement was needed for a minor role. I was recommended and accepted and Frank directed me into the short scene. Greg Erbach, our Lennie, and Stuart Rudin, our Candy, were colleagues at Circle Rep Lab in the '80s and '90s, where we did hundreds of new plays by young writers like Craig Lucas, Lanford Wilson, Joe Pintauro and Peter Hedges.
Which mythical character would like your show the best: Cyclops, Cupid, Paul Bunyan or the Easter Bunny?
The Easter Bunny would love our reverence for rabbits.
Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
I have no doubt that plays like The Normal Heart, As Is and Angels in America not only shamed support for AIDS victims from lawmakers, but initiated conversations that led to public opinion changes for marriage equality and equal access for military service.