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Production of the Steinbeck classic is shelved due to lack of actors,logistical challenges

Anyone looking forward to a taste of classic John Steinbeck later this month from Newberg's theater scene will have to keep waiting after a local troupe cancelled its late summer show.

While Chehalem Players Repertory had audacious plans to take their production of "Of Mice and Men" outside of their normal venue in the Chehalem Cultural Center, troupe co-founder Donna Gentry said a dry pool of actors and the logistics proved to be too difficult to surmount.

"It was a lot on our plate and the pieces just weren't coming together," she said. "So, we thought it was prudent to fall back."

CPR had slated Aug. 25 to be the opening of its run of Steinbeck's stage adaptation of his own classic 1937 novella centered on two migrant workers searching for work in Great Depression-era California.

A key challenge that CPR ran into was simply finding actors to fill those two critical roles, Gentry said.

She explained that CPR has had to geographically broaden its core acting and directing group as local participation has declined. While they had found talented actors interested in playing the parts, she said they were all committed to something else that would conflict with the performance schedule.

On top of that, Gentry said CPR had arranged to stage this show in the barn of Ribbon Ridge-area Claygate Vineyard. That came with its own set of puzzles, including how to how to illuminate that big of an area, how to utilize equipment normally used in a small black box theater and how to provide seating.

"We were faced with a number of challenges that we were willing to take on, but ultimately proved a little daunting for us in the end," she said. "And when you combine that with the fact that we couldn't cast the two roles, we just decided it was best to shelve it for now. In all honesty, with the weather the way it is … I'm glad we did."

Gentry is looking ahead to CPR's next production, "The Sunshine Boys," which is slated to run Oct. 20 through Nov. 5 at the cultural center's Black Box Theater.

More information on that show will eventually be posted on CPR's website: http://chehalem playersrep.org.

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