Gabriel Morrow, who teaches special education at Darien High School, is playing the leading role of George in the Town Players of New Canaan's production of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men," which opens on Friday, May 3, at the Powerhouse Theatre in New Canaan's Waveny Park.
Morrow, who lives in Norwalk, said, "This play is a timeless and compelling story that deserves to be retold and the fact that many schools choose the book as part of their curriculum is a testament to its lasting emotional impact."
This is Morrow's second time being involved in a production of this play. "In fact, my first `professional acting job' was playing Curly in `Of Mice and Men' at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia. I knew it was a play that I wanted to come back to. Luckily, TPNC has provided the opportunity," he said.
"For me, clearly the theme of loneliness is the most pronounced and each character in the play deals with the issue in very unique ways. In my opinion, George is one of the loneliest characters in the story. While we often think that his friend Lennie relies heavily on George to navigate life, I feel George needs Lennie to do the same.
Telling a classic story like "Of Mice and Men," he said, "is challenging because many of the audience members will know the outcome of the story and have ideas of how the story shoul' be told. The challenge lies in the risk of telling our version without compromising the integrity of the script. Our director, Julie Bell Petrak, has done an amazing job asking the basic question, `What does the play want from us?' I also love doing this play because it is truly an ensemble piece of theater. Each character is compelling enough to justify having their own play."
Morrow, who last season starred as Chance in the TPNC's production of "Sweet Bird of Youth," added, "As an actor, I've prepared for the role of George the same way I go about preparing for any role. The goal is always, as theater visionary Sanford Meisner says, `To live truthfully under the imaginary circumstances of the play' and I work to determine what my character wants in each scene and then how to get it.
"I'm so excited for folks to see this production. We have an amazing director, wonderful designers and an incredibly talented cast. You don't want to miss our version of this iconic piece."
Performances take place Friday and Saturday on May 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. and Sunday on May 5 and 12 at 2:30 p.m. For tickets, visit www.tpncshows.org or call 203-966-7371.