Tag Archives: American

Vincent Hannam Goes to the Dark Side (Guest Blog)

This blog was written and originally posted by my colleague Ting Ting Cheng for Park Square Theatre on the theatre’s own website. You can read it here.

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In Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Vincent Hannam plays the cruel and menacing Curley, the boss’ son at the ranch where migrant workers George and Lennie have just arrived. Upon their first encounter, George immediately sizes him up as a “son-of-a-bitch.” It’s an accurate assessment supported by the older ranch hand Candy’s description:

“. . . . Curley’s like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys. He’s all a time pickin’ scraps with big guys. Kinda like he’s mad at ’em because he ain’t a big guy. You seen little guys like that, ain’t you–always scrappy?”

Curley’s insecurity is also evident in his controlling nature toward his new wife. He treats her like a prized possession to show off as a testimony of his power and masculinity. She’s forbidden to talk to the workers, but she does so behind his back anyway, which simply highlights his lack thereof.

Vincent himself lacks admiration for his character, describing Curley as “a punk and a brat, used to getting his own way” and “a bully.” To play Curley three-dimensionally, though, he needed to find even a shred of sympathy for him. To do so, Vincent built a backstory that explores Curley’s familial relationships. He asked questions, such as: In what way does Curley really care about his wife or his father? Why is his mother never mentioned? Did he grow up without one? How might that have impacted his relationship with his father? Did his father give him the attention that he needed?

Despite being the mean antagonist in Of Mice and Men, Vincent is having a blast on the set. He basically gets to play cowboy, wearing Western boots and a hat and getting into fights.“Hate and love are close emotions,” Vincent said. “Sometimes the only way that some people can express love is through hatred.”

“It’s also a fun change of pace to show that villainous side,” admitted Vincent, who has played plenty of “good” characters throughout his career.

“There’s nothing like being on stage, connecting with someone and doing a scene,” Vincent said of acting, but he is also a multi-talented theatre professional who directs, writes and teaches. Amongst his other skills are the ability to do Chewbacca and Godfather impressions and to whistle (but not simultaneously).

As my fellow Park Square blogger, I know Vincent as a lighthearted, easygoing individual. But I can’t wait to see him unveil his dark side as Curley in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Bring it on!

 

Ting Ting Cheng
Ting Ting Cheng joined Park Square Theatre’s Front of House staff in 2014. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Los Angeles, she became a Minnesotan after graduating from Carleton College with a B.A. in English Literature. She loves live theatre and has a passion for writing.
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Exploring Grover’s Corners

Today finds me not in the usual place at all, not any where near the usual place in fact. Right now I am on a bus in New Hampshire, traveling to Portland, ME where I will then catch another bus to a little coastal town named Damariscotta (also in Maine) where I will meet the company of Heartwood Regional Theater and dive into rehearsals for Our Town.

OurTownWeb16 (1)_0I will be playing George Gibbs in one of the most iconic plays of the American theatre, so I suppose it definitely counts as a “dream role”. I say dream role though and yet this play was never really on my bucket list until recently. Of course I had read it in high school and even saw a production in college but I was never struck by the poignancy of the piece until much later. Perhaps as I grew older, and while I’ll admit twenty-five (tomorrow!) may not seem so advanced, I get what the Stage Manager is saying about all of us being alive for just the briefest of moments.

This is a point of view I could not have expressed ten years ago when I was a freshman in high school and that’s why I love this play so much, that’s why the play is everlasting. It evolves with you, meaning something new to you each time you read it, with every passing year. If there’s one thing I’ll look forward to getting older about, it’ll be finding an entirely new meaning in Wilder’s words. At twenty-five it’s George Gibbs but one day it’ll be Mr. Webb and then in more time, perhaps the Stage Manager who will speak to where I’m at in life’s journey.

This certainly promises to be a grand experience, getting to explore both coastal Maine and Grover’s Corners. I’ll let you know what happens.

Newman's Own
          Couldn’t resist this picture. Whatta lucky George that is!