Engaging emotions: Studio 1′s youth production ‘Of Mice and Men’ is its final show at BOV

By Nancy Drago
Times-News correspondent

Tyler Haugle, left, and Chase Wilson, right, will be playing Lenny and George in "Of Mice and Men" when the production opens at Studio 1 on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. / Steven Mantilla, Times-News

The youth production, “Of Mice and Men,” will be Studio 1′s final show at its Burlington Outlet Village location.
The theater company is moving to Holly Hill Mall and Business Center, 309 Huffman Mill Road, Burlington.
John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” is a stage adaptation of the book by the same name. It tells the story of two ranch hands who have been friends for much of their lives. One of the men, Lennie, is mentally challenged but extremely strong. His friend, George, has been by his side helping him get through the challenges life presents for him. They are forced to begin again at another ranch in another town after an innocent action of Lennie’s gets him in trouble. Their plans at the new ranch are to save enough money to purchase a farm of their own. A series of unfortunate events presents the ultimate challenge to their friendship and changes their lives forever.
“The stakes have been really high. We have had a relatively short rehearsal period,” said director Ashley Phipps.
The story is complex, with adult language and themes.
“I love this cast,” she added. “They are talented, dedicated, and intelligent. I have a great stage manager.”
Phipps said she believes the young people involved with the show will engage the emotions of the audience and do justice to the script.
The two main characters are Lennie, played by Tyler Haugle, and George, played by Chase Wilson. Haugle explained that the role is fun but difficult because Lennie is mentally disabled. He wants to portray Lennie honestly and he works to show Lennie’s challenges. Haugle has done research on sensory impairment since the character desires to touch soft things. This is what causes the most problems for Lennie and consequently George.
Chase Wilson portrays George. He said that one of the show’s themes is finding a sense of belonging. He enjoys working with the small cast and says that despite the heavy content, the rehearsals have been a lot of fun.
“Of Mice and Men” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, through Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, in the Sara McMillan Brown Theatre, 1332 Plaza Drive, Burlington. Tickets can be purchased online at www.studio1online.org or at the door.

Nancy Drago is a freshman at Chapel Hill High School and a Teens & 20s writer.

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